With all of the ugliness going on in the world, I cannot help but observe just how difficult it is to be a decent human being. When life is difficult, it is so much easier to just be nasty and cut others down and I have to fight this tendency myself. When I am feeling especially down, I want to be nasty and judgemental to others rather than face my own personal pain. Thankfully, the better side of me often wins out. It takes a concerted effort to be compassionate and empathetic person. I am especially convinced of this after reading how one of my Twitter followers, Scott Desnoyers (@scottdeso, was blamed for his son’s own mental illness and suicide. That’s a hell of a thing to tell a grieving father.
The reason there is a lot of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia is because of this basic tribal human tendency to scape goat others for one’s problems. When I feel down, I want to blame somebody else for my problems because it is easier then facing the pain of life. When I feel at my worst, I must make a concerted effort to be a compassionate and empathetic person. Ultimately I am better for the effort that I make. Unfortunately, those in power openly flaunt their lack of empathy as a strength of character when the opposite is true. This sets a poor example and emboldens those that would otherwise hold their tongue, to be openly nasty and ugly. Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsay Graham all but encourage it. Donald Trump even referred to the Charlottesville, Virginia activist, Heather Heyer as a fat cow. Heather Heyer was run over by by a car on purpose.
The challenge for everybody is to do one compassionate, empathetic act per day. I have set this challenge for myself percisely because it is so easy to do the opposite. I think if everybody practiced this simple act everyday, then the world would become a better place. When you do good, it tends to snowball and it tends to encourage others to do good. It comes down to leadership by example. When it is so easy to yell at a homeless person to go get a job, by them a meal; offer a helping hand.