April 26, 2010

Empathy is a virtue


ur nation has become increasingly polarized. At times it seems to be too large a divide to repair the rift. But as a word-nerd, I have taken a look at the whole situation from the perspective of an editor. And as a lifelong Washingtonian, I have consider it all from the perspective of a consultant. And I believe combining those two perspectives has helped me to gain an insight into how we might be able to bridge the current political gap—we need to develop empathy.

And often empathy is simply a matter of understanding our perceived opponent in context. Or, more accurately, of seeing the world as the other person sees it. This allows us to better understand that person’s point of view. That understanding will encourage empathy in us. And maybe, as the wise sage Rodney King once encouraged, we will be able to learn how to “all just get along,”

The following observations and suggestions are proferred to that end. Can’t we all just get along?

Problem 1: The 10 Commandments

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is simply a matter of understanding the unique difficulties of the people who work in courthouses—lawyers, judges, and politicians. Carefully consider what the Ten Commandments encourages and then think about how that might seem to people in those professions.

The Ten Commandments include Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not commit adultery, and Thou shalt not lie.

We may not post the Ten Commandments in a courthouse full of lawyers, judges and politicians because it creates a hostile work environment.

See. That wasn’t too difficult, was it? Let’s try some more.

Problem 2: The Constitution

The allied forces that helped to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein have made much bluster about helping Iraq set up a constitutional democracy and helping them draft a constitution.

Why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for more than 200 years, and we’re not using it anymore.

Problem 2 solved.

Problem 3: Cows and illegal immigration

This one requires a little bit more thought. But consider this: During the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow born in Canada almost three years earlier right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington. And they traced her claves to their stalls.

But our government is unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country.

Maybe we should just give each of them a cow.

See how much help a small degree of empathy provides?


No comments:

Post a Comment

No personal attacks. No profanity.

Please keep your comments in good taste. Leave a name so we know who you are. Your comments are welcome, but anonymous flames and sacrilege will be deleted.