On this day, with the eyes of all the world on America, I have a confession to make. Over the past year I have fallen in love with Aaron Sorkin’s superbly crafted and brilliantly scripted “West Wing”. I have grown to love the characters with their humour, wit, passion and flaws. Most of all, I have come to admire the real desire for goodness and change which breathes through the politics. Many people love Sorkin’s writing because it is fiction which depicts reality as it might be. Below are the words of Matthew Santos, Presidential Candidate in the show’s final series, as he speaks in church after a tragedy has befallen the local community.
Today they seem especially relevant.
God bless you.
I blame every one I can think of and I am filled with rage. And then I try and find compassion. Compassion for the people I blame. Compassion for the people I do not understand, compassion. It doesn’t always work so well. I remember as a young man listening on the radio to Dr. King in 1968. He asked of us compassion, and we responded, not necessarily because we felt it but because he convinced us that if we could find compassion, if we could express compassion, that if we could just pretend compassion, it would heal us so much more than vengeance could. And he was right: it did but not enough. What we’ve learned this week is that more compassion is required of us and an even greater effort is required of us. And we are all, I think everyone of us, tired.
- We’re tired of understanding, we’re tired of waiting, we’re tired of trying to figure out why our children are not safe and why our efforts to to make them safe seem to fail. We’re tired. But we must know that we have made some progress and blame will only destroy it. Blame will breed more violence and we have had enough of that.
- Blame will not rid our streets of crime and drugs and fear and we have had enough of that. Blame will not strengthen our schools or our families or our workforce. Blame will rob us of those things and we have had enough of that. And so I ask you today to dig down deep with me and find that compassion in your hearts. Because it will keep us on the road. And we will walk together and work together. And slowly, slowly, too slowly, things will get better. God bless you. God bless you and God bless your children