Now, it's become "consistent and humane." The "C" word, apparently has been dropped. Compassion isn't in the final protocols press release, but the word "humane" appears three times. The spin-masters at City Hall seem to have opted for the less loaded word. Here, for example, is the Mayor's press spokesman, Marty McOmber:
"What's new here is that we've developed a coordinated, humane, predictable approach that really sets the exact way that you're going to go out and do this."Newly-elected City Council member Tim Burgess likes "humane" too. "I believe the rules are humane, recognize the complexity of homelessness, and reflect our long-term goal of eliminating homelessness." Great Tim. I'm glad someone thinks so.
Given how carefully this administration uses language, the subtle difference seems worth exploring.
The word compassion implies a certain amount of connectedness and having something at stake. The online dictionary says compassion is the "deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it." Of the two words, it sets the higher bar. When I do a Google image search, here's my top hit.
To be "humane" is a little easier. The online dictionary says that's "marked or motivated by concern with the alleviation of suffering." So there's "concern." And "alleviation." But pretty much everyone opposes suffering, and in the end, the concern tends to fade. The connotations are charitable and the word is more associated with children, animals, and other somewhat helpless creatures. In an image search, the top hit offers us this.
It probably isn't worth the trouble to get all exegetical on a City press release. It might have been just them wanting to avoid any unnecessary Dalai Lama associations. It's a small thing, but it was a choice. That's what makes it interesting.