Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW

Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, LMSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Is Compassion in the Eye of the Beholder?: A Look at Romney’s Compassion

This entry continues the theme of compassion and empathy in our posts, but takes it into the realm of politics. Huffington Post recently published the article “Mitt Romney, Man of Compassion?” looking at the complex world of Romney’s recent television advertisements, his idea of compassion, and the influence of true compassion on his campaign.

In a recent advertisement Romney is quoted as stating the following:

“We shouldn’t measure compassion by how many people are on welfare… We should measure compassion by how many people are able to get off welfare and get a good paying job.”

To quote Inigo Montoya from “Princess Bride”: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means”. Compassion is the conscious understanding of another’s suffering, and that statement certainly lacks compassion or any real understanding of many of those on welfare.

So, is compassion in the eye of the beholder and is this version of compassion accurate through the lens which Romney views the world, or is Romney clinging onto catch phrases and words that strike a cord? Either way, studies discussed in this article make it clear that very few buy his compassion. He is distanced from many of those who could elect him not only by social class but also because of their perception. He seems to many to be  non-authentic and lacking of compassion. Thus, many people cannot relate to him, he doesn’t appear likable, and they don’t feel that he understands the everyday America.

Regardless of the influence of this perception on his election, it seems this compassion deficit is stressing Romney out to the point where he is making stupid mistakes. He is reaching for an image of compassion in the eyes of the american public, which perhaps is making him appear less authentic. If research on compassion is correct, he should be coming down with a pretty terrible cold pretty soon.

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