It’s rare that I see an article that makes logical points and still misses the mark it sets for itself so completely.

“the first serious problem with empathy is that it is biased” — empathy is not biased. The person that tries to apply it is biased. If you decide to try an empathise with someone, there are many biased linked obstacles. First, of course, is whether you truly want to. Empathy with your own “bubble” isn’t really an exercise in empathy since that’s just confirming your own feelings.

“Why demand empathy for the white, male, relatively affluent people who got exactly what they wanted?” — seriously? Relatively affluent people who got what they wanted? That’s what you consider to be Trump’s base? Trump’s core are rural areas with plenty of mid to low income households that love the image of a white, English speaking and preferably gun-toting Americans.

In fact, you may have proved yourself wrong in the end. Your statement shows exactly why we need empathy. I don’t care what Trump supports do or don’t. Empathy is the thing that allows you to say “I know where you’re coming from”. Understanding what fears drove them to Trump, what makes them tick is a first step and an important one. The next is offering an actual alternative that they can rally behind, something that will solve the fear behind they vote.

You think it’s a matter of logic. Trump promised anti-immigration and those that don’t like immigrants voted them. That’s the kind of poor rationalisation that leads “us” to shout “you’re wrong” and then list all the logical reasons.

Empathy is an emotional connection, in this case to whatever fear led those people to the backlash against immigrants for example. Without it, there’s no reaching the other side and pull enough people over. And without reaching to people who actually get involved in politics and vote, the alternative is to reach to the passive masses who haven’t found the motivation until now … and that’s more of a Hail Mary.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store