I can remember vaguely having angry, tearful political arguments with my father when i was still young enough to cry but probably too young to understand what politics is about. I don't mind that; i have say i'm kind of proud of it. My problem is that i am trying to learn compassion and lots of my fellow human beings, especially those who live close, are economically conservative, politically right wing, and socially ethnocentric. And i am "ethnocentric" also -- mostly toward those who are rich, conservative, male, and ethnocentric.
Yes, i have friends who are rich (though probably none in the one percent -- maybe just one in the top six percent), conservative (most of the people i know, including my wife and children are more conservative than i), male, and at least a little ethnocentric. But i shy away from profound discussions with them because i have already alienated too many people by just (in my mind) being honest.
I understand "hate the sin but love the sinner." Well, i sort of understand it anyway. I also sort of understand detachment and mind emptying. And i know that everyone (and everything) has a Buddha nature. None of this helps much.
My guides along the path to compassion give me a certain leeway when it comes to terrorists. I am permitted not to condone their actions and to oppose their actions and not accept what they do. My problem is that i don't really fear or hate terrorists (or child abusers or serial killers) my compassion extends to them, i hope, in spite of their actions. But i do fear people on the political right (like most of my neighbors and relatives) and i know that fear slips easily over into hatred. I say i don't hate anybody, but i don't know if that is true.
True compassion makes no exclusions. Yes, i know that there are stories where arhants, sages, and saints all make mistakes. But a part of their wisdom is to recognize their mistakes and make immediate changes (like Jesus and the Syro-Phoenecian woman--the moment his failure to be compassionate was called to his attention he changed).
Whenever Mitt Romney (or any other Republican ) speaks, i want to vomit. That makes attentive and respectful listening very difficult. I know that this reaction is inappropriate, like my childish arguments with my father. Nausea has simply replaced my tears. This is not the proper response to the well intended words of a fellow human being. And i am supposed to give everyone the benefit of the doubt about their good intentions.