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First of all, let me say that I think there are many passionate and committed progressives in the community.  I believe that no matter where we align ourselves with respect to any given debate, most here are actively engaged in making our world a better and more compassionate place.  I also believe most of us know that while we may argue, even passionately, over the issues of the day; there are times and situations that require us to look beyond our partisan positions because of our shared humanity.

Recently, a well respected member of this community wrote a diary in which she summarized an exchange she had with me in which she talked about the very difficult choices she is faced with due to cancer.  She said that the new paradigm of austerity in Washington, and the potential new cuts to entitlement programs she relies on to pay for her medical treatments would make her situation even more dire.

I didn't respond back to her immediately, because I didn't know how to talk about such a real crisis in a forum such as this.  When I finally did get back to her, I thanked her for sharing her story with me.  I also hope that she understands that no matter where and how we may differ politically, I wish her nothing but the best.  I also would like to apologize to her for any pain my words may have caused her.  Though I was engaging with her sincerely during our exchange, I certainly didn't mean for my words to make her feel badly.  While I can argue as passionately as the next person here (and I certainly won't apologize for that),  I recognize that there are times when we all have to stop and remember that whoever we're engaging with is a human being.

Unfortunately, a few members of this community failed to remember this.  There is a diary on the recommended this right now calling for trusted members of this community to hide rate a comment by a member of this community who couldn't let it go.  Many in this community were rightfully offended by the hypocrisy of scoring cheap political points with the charge that the aforementioned community member was using her cancer diagnosis to score cheap political points.  Many members of the community registered their disapproval in the comment thread which is now only visible to trusted users.  Some of the comments in that thread where made by very well respected members of this community and articulated exactly what was offensive about this comment in a manner that was respectful not only of the standards of this community, but also of the idea of compassion.  Other comments, however, did not.

There were at least two comments in that thread that wished death upon the person who made the originally offending comment.  One of them predicted that Christ would strike this user down for being evil.  Another wished death upon this user unless he learned the error of this ways.  I won't link to those comments because I don't wish to inflame this situation any longer.  All I'd like to say is that while I agree that many in this community were rightfully offended by those who couldn't rise above petty bickering, I also don't believe that people should wish death upon others and then call that compassion.

Originally posted to fou on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 08:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Yes We Can Pragmatists and Progressive Messaging.

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