Empathy on Steroids (not the drug)

I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to put this into words, and it hasn’t been easy. Heck, I’m not even sure the following words will be the best way to explain it. Even so, they’re the only words I have right now, and I hope you’ll be able to understand all the same.

Maybe you remember that time in your childhood when you knew for certain that something you’d done or said was wrong. I’m talking about the immediate feeling afterwards that comes from observing the effect, such as seeing the other kid look sad or start crying. It’s the feeling that tells you that you messed up, and that it wasn’t right that something you did hurt the other person. For me, it’s always felt like a pit that opens in my chest, somewhere above my stomach. It appears instantly, and depending on the situation, the hole may or may not close. It’s the feeling that compels you to apologize, to try making up for what you did. It’s a learning moment, one in which we begin to understand what empathy is.

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Trump is An American Problem

Make no mistake. Even if you think you personally don’t have anything to lose under this farce of a presidency, let me make myself perfectly clear: You are still losing. Why? An essential American ideal is unity. We are a country full of diverse people, but the goal is to still come together for the common cause of humanity—the ability to be human, and exercise our rights to that end. Many people are saying that Trump has been successful in unifying this country in that he has united millions of people in their hatred of him. However, this is just the start.

We are unified in our hate for a man who despite insulting and assaulting other human beings, managed to get voted into the White House via the electoral college. The popular vote was not on his side, and now a bed has been made that we do not want to sleep in. Even people who voted for this man are begging him on social media to not do away with programs and legislation that they need in order to survive. They are just now realizing what a lot of people already knew, and who now see our fears played out before our eyes—a Trump presidency is likely to mean an end to an era in which we saw legislation and attitudes change to accommodate the human condition, to realize the fact that rights are not privileges.

Your neighbor may stand to lose something because of President Trump.

A friend of a friend of a friend may lose something because of him.

An entire group of people may be disenfranchised and ignored because of him.

Even if you don’t personally know someone who stands to lose something in the next four years (granted, if he doesn’t get impeached first), you still lose something. If one American citizen, one group of Americans, one individual or group of individuals who want to become citizens of this country lose because of this president, you also lose under the principle of unity. We stand with our fellow human beings, and to watch one fall and believe that doesn’t affect us to ignore something innate and true within us.

We forsake our empathy.

So feel, kneel, and lend a hand. Are you furious? Raise your voice and make a spectacle on behalf of your fellow Americans. Are you curious? Do extensive research and be prepared to face people who will call your findings “alternative facts.” Are you concerned? Find ways you can help people in your community and at large. This way, it will be seen that efforts are being made to help instead of harm.

We do not have to be our president.

We do not have to trust him blindly.

We do not have to hang our heads and accept the atrocities that are soon to come.

We do not have to do nothing and be enveloped in our hopelessness, our anger, and our fears.

We have a vehicle for change, so let’s drive it. Let’s peacefully protest and boycott, sign petitions and write on platforms to get our point(s) across. Let’s make it to where we cannot be ignored, because we will not be ignored.

This is America, and we are Americans. Trump is an American problem. Therefore, let’s do a lot of things now before he becomes a global catastrophe.