This week all of America had a chance to see a side of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, which I am pretty sure Mitt wishes he could take back. Thanks to secret videos shared with Mother Jones magazine and the larger world, the largest take away for me is that frankly Mitt Romney lacks empathy. Sadly what was revealed in those tapes of Mitt talking honestly with his supporters is that he has no clue about half of America which for a guy who wants to be a leader of all of America is not a great place to be.
In the days since the release of the tapes, it would be easy to just dump on Romney and frankly Mitty makes it real easy to just take a ginormous shit all over him, however in trying to be a little less snarky I am going to say what Mitt revealed about himself is something many of us are suffering from…empathy is a dying art in the United States.
Sympathy and empathy, to not only intellectually know the difference between the two and also practice both is a skill few of us have. Most of us aren’t even aware that we are not empathetic beings; too much of what we think is empathy is really just sympathy at best.
We can go back to the point in the political climate when the distinction started being made heavily between the red and the blue states and flyover country. Sure those were handy ways to describe the political climate, but we did it at the expense of dehumanizing the inhabitants of each of these areas. Instead that distinction started us all on the slippery slope of where America literally divided herself into two countries and the inhabitants never meet in the middle because we are too busy, only seeing the world through our own lens and passing judgment on the others.
Thanks to technological advancement in the form of social media, what could be a tool for reaching consensus and truly learning about those we other, is merely an even more efficient tool for sticking to our own belief system no matter how flawed because we can create our own echo chamber. As a result the social and political climate is even more fractured and empathy is dying an even quicker death. Hell, empathy is on life support at this point.
We are at the point women can’t even bond as women in the ways that our elders and ancestors did many decades and centuries ago because well, I am right and you are wrong and I can’t hear you.
Sure Mitt is a cocky and arrogant man with no clue but frankly most of us suffer from the same problem. This country needs many things to get back on the right track, and while good paying jobs, solid public schools and universal medicine are at the top of the list perhaps we need to make empathy a priority as well. Most of us can’t do much to change the biggies, but we can make a difference by practicing empathy or at the very least becoming aware of when we aren’t practicing empathy.
As for Mitt, I won’t say he’s lost but maybe it would be best if he lost this election so he can sit back and reflect and maybe learn about this empathy thing as well. He might then understand the role of his own privilege and realize that while we didn’t all start the game on third base as he did, that doesn’t make us moochers.