The Common Good

Love Is in the Air, and Not Just at the CIA

Date: November 13, 2012

These first term actions rest in love of neighbor and now, they lend credibility to presidential promises for round two to rectify injustices within an improving, but still skewed, economy limping along fiscal cliffs as well as to undertake comprehensive reform of a broken immigration system and minimize the abuse of our fragile environment.

But all this is the president's work in conjunction with the Congress. What is our personal patriotic duty of love and charity?

There are good primers here on how we can personally find common ground. One of the president's dearest friends, Jim Wallis of Sojourners gives multiple examples in his recent release. So too, our personal initiative can be inspired by recollection of the work of the late Catholic Monsignor John Sheridan who built his theology not around snap judgment, but an inclusive, "theology of kindness," as he called it, that "loves recklessly" in the sense of always being open to the differing understandings of others. If nothing else, these approaches avoid rushing one moral point of view into law to be used as weapon against another. Majority approval of some uses of marijuana and same sex marriage, for example, illustrate how even the most dogmatic or categorical position can be rethought based upon an empathetic grasp of the needs of others.
Using kindness to refrain from the negative or to slow down our tendency to judge or stereotype far prematurely is a good start, but isn't there more to our personal duty?


A little over two decades ago, TV and film talent manager Ken Kragen engineered the fundraising hit "We are the World," and shortly thereafter "Hands Across America," both of which raised millions of dollars for people living at the margins of society. The song and the coast-to-coast demonstration of concern for the homeless and the poor is still talked about today as one of the most memorable events in the lives of those who joined their hands and then pooled their time and resources to confront those issues.