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Regarding Empathy

Thursday, May. 28, 2009 3:35 AM

You may recall Rush Limbaugh's theory of racism, offered in defense of his 'Barack the Magic Negro' comments - it's a ploy enacted by a class of victims who enjoy victimhood. They yell and scream and pitch a hissy fit until people concede to them.

So when Rush is among those leading the charge to decry Judge Sonia Sotamayor as a racist for her remarks on her life experience and the unique perspective it might provide, either Rush is enjoying his newfound victimhood, or he's admitting his past words are a racist screed. (IMHO, there's a not-so-subtle distinction between deriding someone - be it Donovan McNabb or Barack Obama - for getting where they are solely on the basis of the color of their skin, and someone acknowledging that they possess life experience that differs from the majority.)

Remember the 1994-95 strike by Major League Baseball players, which ended regular and post-season games and threatened to spill over into the '95 season?

It was ended by a ruling from a judge named Sonia Sotamayor.

Some more thoughts about the quality of 'empathy' that critics of President Obama's criteria seem to have problems with.

It's in the Bible. It's the core of Christ's teaching, "Do unto others as ye would have done unto you."

It is repeated in a slightly different form as Jesus reminds us to 'judge not, lest ye be judged, and in the same measure,' - not in the sense of refraining from discerning good from bad, but from unthinking adherence to the strict laws of the past.

It shows up again when Christ admonishes an angry crowd, telling them 'let the one among you without sin cast the first stone.' As the crowd empathizes with the adulteress, they wander off, their anger abated. But Jesus still admonishes her to, 'go forth and sin no more.'

Thus, empathy informs mercy and tempers justice. It is a necessary component of wisdom.

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