Empathy in a Time of Fear

This presidential campaign has been remarkable for its circus-like quality, due primarily to the efforts of Donald Trump, whose presidential bid simply cannot be taken seriously. Unfortunately, too many foolish people are taking him seriously, which contributes to the circus-like quality. If too many people align themselves with his divisive and fear-inspiring rhetoric, we could be ushering in a resurgence of Nazism, only this time in the United States. He has advocated the increase of security measures, including keeping a Muslim database and forcing them to carry special ID. This is disturbingly reminiscent of the yellow stars Jews wore in Germany during Hitler’s government. If he ends up in power and follows this program, what is to stop him from turning his attention to pagans next?

His fear-mongering is taking advantage of the ignorance of the people, who have been sheltered from the world for far too long, and who resent its incursions into their lives brought about by increased communication and travel. The world simply cannot go back to the way it was fifty and more years ago, and everyone must move ahead. More need to realize and accept our oneness, with all its implications. We are simply all human beings together, struggling to survive, and we must set aside our fear of each other and embrace compassion. A shining example of this occurred recently when Al-Shabab militants attacked a bus in Kenya and attempted to separate the Muslim passengers from those of other religions, intending to kill all the non-Muslims. This time, though, the Muslim passengers did not cooperate, and would not separate themselves from the others, foiling the militants’ attempt to massacre them and saving most of the passengers’ lives. This type of heroism is what we need to hear more about. I have a hunch that this happens more than we know because it goes against the comfortable prejudices of Americans, so it doesn’t make it into our media. Those Kenyans realized their oneness and acted on it, leading us where we must go if we are to survive.

Empathy is the path we must take. I strongly suggest a careful reading of this article by a holocaust survivor, who knows the truth of this from his own horrific experience. We have risen above small-minded bullying before; let us not forget that we can and must do it again.

 

Copyright © 2016 Teresa Chupp.  All rights reserved.

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