I want to be compassionate toward Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller, as well as toward Dr. Tiller and the women he helped.
I want to be compassionate toward James von Brunn, who opened fire in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as toward Stephen Tyrone John, the security guard he murdered.
I want to be compassionate toward George Bush and Dick Cheney and all the dead-eyed, well-dressed rich white males who don't see or don't care that their greed for money and for power harms people, as well as toward the American soldiers and Iraqi soldiers and civilians their decisions have killed and the people their policies have thrust out of their homes, robbed of their jobs, forced onto the streets or into their cars.
I want to be compassionate toward white people who are so saturated in their privilege they don't see it or feel it and toward black people who are so choked with rage, so close to a heart attack or a stroke from the continual stress of living with racism, that sometimes the anger boils over and corrodes things like acid.
I want to remember that we are all suffering. Buddhism teaches this; I feel that it is true, and the more I think about the teachings of Buddhism, the more they make sense, the more I verify them from my own experience.
I want to be compassionate. Do you honestly think that George Bush is any happier, deep down, than the homeless man who sleeps in the park that you walk through every day on your way to work? Bush is not happier; he's just better anesthetized.
I want those who do harm to others to be held accountable, so that we may have a safe and orderly and just society. On the relative level, that's tremendously important.
On the absolute level, I really do want us all to grow out of doing each other harm--both George Bush and the homeless man, the Chinese Communist soldier and the imprisoned Tibetan monk, the blandly privileged white woman and the angry black woman with dangerously high blood pressure, myself and my readers, the mice I have to kill to keep them out of my birds' food and my own food, all of us.
I want to be compassionate. I want us to be free and joyful. I want to help.