Those who read my blogs know that I don’t say a lot about politics. However, some of the things I am seeing lately both from the White House and my fellow Americans prompt me to say something today. We have much going on in this country right now. As I watch, I see things I have never seen before and many of our politicians seem to have gone mad. Not everything going on in this country nor every sentiment is good. The “us” and “them” mentality seems to be increasing steadily and we have lost our ability to disagree in ways I never thought we would in this country. I’m going to take today’s blog and attempt to bring us all back to center so to speak– a place we have drifted far from in America today. Not all of my statements may be agreeable and that is okay – I can and will peacefully agree to disagree.
Many people have lost the ability to empathize in this country – meaning to see things from another’s perspective, not feel sorry for them. I first noticed this with the immigrants coming over the border with families several months ago. The President’s current Zero Tolerance policy and prior family separation policy does not take into account asylum seekers – those fleeing war, oppression or other unstable situations. These problems existed before the Trump administration going back to George Bush, at least where separating families is concerned - they were simply magnified because people have finally realized what was happening at the border thanks to social media. I equally find it appalling that 2 to 3 former presidential administrations allowed the separation of families at detention centers. I will say this again as I have said in a prior blog - that was dishonorable, unjust and without compassion or empathy. I will also say that a Zero Tolerance policy, except in the case of drugs, weapons or sex trafficking by the refugees, is moving dangerously close to the same dishonor, lack of justice, compassion and empathy in the current administration. Mr. Trump, I believe you and Congress can do better! You must do better!
We now see this same lack of empathy playing out in the reaction and response to the Honduran refugees fleeing political unrest and gang violence. America, I am here to tell you, if not for the grace of God – that would be us – rampant gang violence, political unrest and war. Yes, I said war. I have heard things said like “well they are just trying us to see if we will back up our border security” and “they are disrespecting our sovereignty.” Do you know what I see America? I see frightened, panicked people trying to survive. I see fellow human beings trying to get to a place where there is not political unrest, rampant gang violence and instability. They aren’t thinking about anything but finding safety. Desperate people do desperate things. Wouldn’t you? Have we walked a mile in their shoes? What if “they” were you? What if that was your family?
Our political parties and the media have lost their ability to empathize with each other as well. The Right is constantly vying for position with the Left and the media take their pre-determined sides as well. It’s a circus of arrogance. No one is actually asking the right questions, “What is it like to be in your shoes?” What is it like to be you? We have seen this played out in the vilification of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Me Too movement – when reasonable positions and statements were being presented by members of the faith community alongside other concerned, everyday Americans! Is everyone involved in these movements out for the common good? No, you will always have the bad apples and the radicals. I can also tell you that not everyone who is playing on the Republican side or the Democratic side is out for the common good either. They are out for their own good or the agenda of ideologies far more sinister such as Communism and Fascism (aka Nazis). Do not be deceived!
America, we have got to get back to empathy and seeing through the eyes of others even to our highest levels of government! Empathy, compassion, mercy, and justice will make us better neighbors, citizens and a better country as a whole. We will see our criminal justice system differently. We will see the poor differently. We will see the disenfranchised differently. We will look at politics differently. We will see each other differently. We will see the world differently.
I will ask you again. What if “they” were you? What if that was your family? What if that was your situation? What is it like to walk a mile in their shoes?