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Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:07 AM

I've lost any illusions of my own empathy under Trump

For most of my life, I've believed myself to be an empathetic person. Perhaps I was to one degree or another. But now, I question myself.

People were left out in the cold to freeze after Trump's Nebraska visit. My attitude was that if they were stupid enough to go to his rally, Fuck Them.

Many in and around his White House have been infected with Covid-19. My attitude is Fuck Them.

Countless at his super spreader rallies have been infected and many have died. I don't care. Fuck Them.

And as for those who kidnapped children from their parents at the border and locked them in cages, Fuck Them. Let them die in misery.

So much for that empathy I thought was part of me. I'm watching other human beings sicken and/or die, and all I can say if they are MAGAs is, "Fuck Them."

I suppose that "good people" rise above their baser instincts. Now, I find that my baser instincts are on the front burner. "Fuck Them" is not the attitude of an empathetic person.

And it occurs to me that the baser traits of others weren't brought about by Trump. He just brought out what was already there. So here I am, filled with animosity that I didn't know existed in me to the depth that it does. Maybe it will go away once the orange beast is gone. Or maybe it won't.

All I can say, is that I've discovered the hatred in myself and it disappoints me.

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Arrow 51 replies Author Time Post
Reply I've lost any illusions of my own empathy under Trump (Original post)
Cyrano Oct 29 OP
marylandblue Oct 29 #1
Cirque du So-What Oct 29 #3
marylandblue Oct 29 #7
Cirque du So-What Oct 29 #9
Bettie Oct 29 #10
cwydro Oct 29 #20
The Mouth Oct 29 #30
Cirque du So-What Oct 29 #2
enough Oct 29 #4
volstork Oct 29 #5
nebby70 Oct 29 #6
chia Oct 29 #8
Freedomofspeech Oct 29 #11
roamer65 Oct 29 #12
Ponietz Oct 29 #28
Leith Oct 29 #13
I_UndergroundPanther Oct 29 #14
BSdetect Oct 29 #15
Zorro Oct 29 #16
barbtries Oct 29 #41
Ms. Toad Oct 29 #17
deurbano Oct 29 #39
Ms. Toad Oct 29 #44
ffr Oct 29 #18
KS Toronado Oct 29 #37
uponit7771 Oct 29 #19
ananda Oct 29 #21
llashram Oct 29 #22
OxQQme Oct 29 #23
calimary Oct 29 #35
BusyBeingBest Oct 29 #24
StarryNite Oct 29 #31
BusyBeingBest Oct 29 #33
dawg Oct 29 #25
bucolic_frolic Oct 29 #26
barbtries Oct 29 #27
Cyrano Oct 29 #47
barbtries Oct 29 #49
Cyrano Oct 29 #50
barbtries Oct 29 #51
RVN VET71 Oct 29 #29
barbtries Oct 29 #42
cate94 Oct 29 #32
wnylib Oct 29 #34
nycbos Oct 29 #36
Initech Oct 29 #38
OriginalGeek Oct 29 #40
nolabear Oct 29 #43
Caliman73 Oct 29 #45
miyazaki Oct 29 #46
treestar Oct 29 #48

Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:14 AM

1. I hear you, but I haven't lost my empathy for two reasons

First reason is that I long knew about my dark side, so I am not surprised to see it in myself and others.

Second reason is that empathy is a choice, not a feeling. I don't care how bad someone is, I choose to be empathic even if I don't feel like it, even if they don't deserve it.

You don't have to be empathatic. I choose to be because my life is better this way.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:17 AM

3. I have tried choosing empathy

but I feel like a hypocrite. Fortunately, I havenít had my choices put to a serious test these past couple of years.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #3)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:21 AM

7. Everybody is a hypocrite by definition.

Because we often feel one way and end up doing something else. Sometimes I feel so angry I could kill, but of course I don't do that.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #7)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:28 AM

9. I'm relatively certain

that if a situation arose where exercising empathy were an option, I would choose to act altruistically, regardless of whoever it was. My thoughts, generally, run toward Ďfuck Ďem, however. Reality brings us around to doing whatís right.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:31 AM

10. How many times can you get kicked while you're down

and still have empathy for the guy doing the kicking.

That's where I am right now. I'm exhausted and I don't have the energy to be nice to people who are horrible in every interaction.

Lucky for me, I can't go anywhere due to Covid.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:31 AM

20. Good post.

Plus, changing who you are because of these idiots means they won.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:51 AM

30. Some of the wisest words I have read in years

Thank you

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:14 AM

2. I too find my empathetic inclinations challenged these past four years

It has become difficult to gin up empathy, much less empathy, for members of a cult who would gleefully send millions of people to their death without batting an eye. Nowadays, when I learn of their misfortune, itís all sad trombone. Womp womp.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:17 AM

4. This is one of the most profound effects of Trump's ascendency.

Iíve been wondering the same thing that youíre expressing. The only good thing I can think of is that itís a moment of self-knowledge that we can bring with us into the rest of our livesó that as humans weíre not immune to this and we need to be aware.

Thanks for this post.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:21 AM

5. I agree, Cyrano,

and it troubles me. It makes me sad and angry and worried that this apathetic (evil?) streak in me has been uncovered; perhaps it has been there all along, but this moment has thrown the light onto it, and I now know without a doubt that it is there within me. I have family friends I've literally known all of my life to whom I no longer speak because they are trump supporters; one's son died of COVID, which she previously trumpeted as a hoax, and I couldn't bring myself to call or even send a card.

We have become so much poorer and baser over the last four years, and it makes me profoundly sad.

However, I listened to Joe's interview with Brene Brown yesterday (on her podcast "Unlocking Us), and it filled me with hope and enthusiasm in a way few things have recently.
Maybe we will heal stronger in the broken places.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:21 AM

6. I understand completely....

... as the most shocking thing I've 'learned' these last 4 yrs is that I have the ability to think cruel things and swear A LOT ...
... and I'm disappointed that my 1st reaction is to be intolerant of people who are dense and unthinking...
... and as much as I try to have my first instinct be Michelle's 'when they go low, we go high' - I have to actually pause to gather myself to do so.....
... so I guess I'm not that different than the Trump-ers -- but at least (so far) I keep my peace until I collect and can act civil...
... Trump has left a lasting mark on this old lady's life ....

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:27 AM

8. You speak for me too

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:34 AM

11. I totally agree with you.

I find myself having horrible thoughts about trump and his cult. Never thought that I would feel this way.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 08:44 AM

12. We didn't have empathy for fascists in WW2.

I see no reason to have it now.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #12)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:49 AM

28. +1 Justice must always precede

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 09:06 AM

13. There's nothing wrong with you

As roamer said above: did you have empathy for stone-cold nazis? Do you have empathy for terrorists in the ME or anywhere else?

Now we have found out that we are surrounded by the same kind of people and they are not shy about showing us their hatred and contempt for us. You're not supposed to think that they are just meek and "undangerously*" mewling about their sad lot in life. Most of them would kill you where you stand if they could get away with it. Trying to understand them is not your responsibility.

* I know it's not a word, but I couldn't think of another term that would capture the meaning accurately.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 09:38 AM

14. I have not lost my empathy

I am just selective on how I apply it.

I cannot empathize with somebody seeking my ruin.

I have no empathy for abusers,or dark triad personalities.

Hate can be a survival response.

I know all of us on DU feel threatened by the right wing tyrants making our country in liveable.

Hating the people doing that makes hate a way to identify and vote out those who seek our suffering and ruin. We are having a normal self protective reaction against toxic personalities and abuse.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:09 AM

15. I recall Voltaire's quote about making people believe in absurdities can make them commit atrocities

That is not the exact quote - which was phrased somewhat more elegantly.

So that helps reduce my anger. Attack the absurdities.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:12 AM

16. Empathy is a sign of weakness to Republicans

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Response to Zorro (Reply #16)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:25 AM

41. right?!

fuck them. i'd rather be me.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:21 AM

17. It's hard, and I'm on the path there.

I have never before wished anyone dead - and when Trump popped back from COVID 19 so quickly, I did wish him dead because I knew it would only strengthen his message that is killing so many in our country: Only the weak die from COVID 19, so no big deal.

I haven't yet gotten to the place where I have no empathy for others - but I can see possibilities I never believed would apply to me.

And - I have one perpetually depressed suidical friend who is going to vote 3rd party in Ohio. I have been unable to generate enough empathy for their emotional health sufficient to overcome my instincts to blast them for their intention to vote 3rd party - and each new depressed/suicidal FB post just triggers anger. I've been able to frame my posts as begging them to change their mind - but not enough to stop me from comparing voting for a 3rd party to supporting Hitler.

I don't like this version of me and - like you, I am surprised - and hope it vanishes when Trump is gone from office. My fear, as to a Trump win, is as much for how 4 more years of this will change me as it is for what it will do to the country.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #17)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:18 AM

39. I think wishing him dead IS showing empathy, just not for him, but rather for all of those

he continues to harm. Although a case could be made that it would also be putting him out of his own misery...

I think your friend is being pretty deliberately provocative for a depressed/suicidal person. (Granted, FB didn't exist when I was depressed and suicidal, and maybe I experienced a more introverted, enervated situation.)

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Response to deurbano (Reply #39)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 12:52 PM

44. It's part and parcel of their depressed/suicical state.

They truly believe Biden is a rapist and not significantly different from Trump - and are desperate to get others to believe it. So they alternately post "life is no longer worth living" posts and inflammatory rhetoric against Biden (the "Trump clone" ) and pro-third party stuff - which triggers all of her friends, who occasionally dump on her, which cycles her into deeper depression.

She is a younger generation - not yet old enough (in my experience with ardent 3rd party folks) to be pragmatic. And also - part of the generation that is used to putting everything on FB.

Intellectually, I know that. But recently I have not been able to keep from responding to the political posts (or bring myself to express empathy for their depressed/suicidal state).

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:23 AM

18. It'll return. You're just in an abusive relationship.

As another member mentioned the same this morning. We're locked into this because of Mitch McConnell. tRump is but the architect that our system was designed to prevent. The true evil is on Mitch McConnell's head.

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Response to ffr (Reply #18)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:15 AM

37. Speaking of Moscow Mitch, several months back I had a dream about him.....

I traveled halfway across this country, stalked his house out and positioned myself on a hill where I could
get a clean shot at him from only a mile away. When he came to a window smiling at me, I got him in my
cross-hairs and was squeezing the trigger when some inner voice yelled "Thou shall not kill" Woke up
instantly wondering what the hell just happened and the only conclusion I could come up with is that
we can all have evil thoughts at certain times and that's OK and even normal. The real kicker is how we
ignore or respond to those thoughts. Unfortunately way to many republiCONs respond instead of ignore.
What I found funny about the experience is that I wouldn't waste the gas to drive across town to see
McTurtle, sure hope he loses reelection.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:28 AM

19. Your empathy is rationally conditional that's normal for a logical human being. Can you be merciful

... is the bigger question and even that's conditional upon someone changing their heart and mind on the situation

Both are logical responses to the horridness we're seeing in the Trump administration

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:33 AM

21. It's OK to hate the embodiment of pure evil.

imnsvho

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:33 AM

22. I have none for trump-pets either

"fuck them" one and ALL

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:35 AM

23. This is getting expensive...

My local big box TV salesperson knows me by name.
"Watcha doing with all these tv's you're buying anyway?"
"I throw a shoe at the damn thing when the orangeman speaks." I reply.

Buddha:
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

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Response to OxQQme (Reply #23)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:08 AM

35. Good Buddha quote. Thanks.

I have to keep that kind of reminder up front.

Having a dreadfully hard time finding empathy and forgiveness. I know thatís where I should be. But Iím NOT.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:39 AM

24. Wait, what? Confused as to why you are lumping Trump's kidnapping victims

in with Trump supporters (who of course can and should all get Covid AND frostbite and go to hell). Why would you not have empathy for foreign families and children who are unwitting victims of his policies? EDIT: OK, I re-read it, you are talking about Trump's ICE and border patrol kidnappers and jailers, gotcha. Yes I hope they also roast in hell.

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Response to BusyBeingBest (Reply #24)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:58 AM

31. Reread it...."And as for those WHO kidnapped children"

"And as for those who kidnapped children from their parents at the border and locked them in cages, Fuck Them. Let them die in misery."

Not the victims.

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Response to StarryNite (Reply #31)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:01 AM

33. Yes, I added an edit, I am a slowpoke this morning.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:41 AM

25. I'm still a bleeding-heart liberal, and I wanted those freezing Trumpers to be ok.

I do want people to have consequences for their poor choices, but I don't want those consequences to be needleessly dire.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:44 AM

26. This war will harden us, we must try to mute the impact on our souls

It will make mistrust a filter for most interactions. Finding common ground would help. I think churches are useless because they teach rote values and then it's a dog-eat-dog world in the parking lot. Sociopaths in my view come in many grades. Only the worst make headlines. The rest could be anywhere. And they are. Don't be one of them.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:47 AM

27. one of the reasons i hate republicans and trump so much

is that they make me hate.

i don't think you're feeling "fuck them" toward innocent children stolen from their parents and locked in cages. from a distance you don't and can't know if a victim of the #TrumpGenocide #TrumpVirus was a member of his cult, or if that person's family members, who could not be with a dying loved one at the end and cannot mourn properly, are republicans or trumpsters.

strictly my opinion: you haven't lost your empathy. you are not apathetic. you're PISSED.

i just had an appointment with my counselor, who is my biggest cheerleader and allows me to fret endlessly as he validates all my feelings about the state of the country and the planet.

we are living through an extremely fraught time and it did not have to be this way. it's trump, his cult, and feckless craven republicans who brought us to this precipice. And incidentally a once in a century pandemic. i think the frustration and the helplessness leads to the darkest feelings i experience right now. Hope ebbs and flows; despair taps at my mind.

don't be so hard on yourself. You're okay, and you're a good person.

ETA my counselor and i just minutes ago discussed that about 65% of the population (that's us, the majority of sane and caring patriots) are suffering from PTSD after the last 4 years. He's a lifeline for me and we meet via ZOOM. If you have the means and the desire to seek counseling I will say it's very important to me, just as it was after my daughter was killed.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #27)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 01:19 PM

47. Reread my OP. I'm referring to the border patrol,

ICE, and all our government criminals who are "Just following orders," not the children.

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Response to Cyrano (Reply #47)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 01:33 PM

49. i knew that.

it shows me you're not apathetic and you haven't lost your empathy.

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Response to barbtries (Reply #49)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 01:42 PM

50. Sorry, I just reread your post.

And I agree that many, many sane Americans are suffering from PTSD.

I'm saddened to hear you lost your daughter and my heart goes out to you, barbtries.

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Response to Cyrano (Reply #50)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 02:38 PM

51. Thanks Cyrano.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:50 AM

29. Just a thought about that:

My first reaction to the abandonment to the elements of thousands of Trump supporters in a Nebraska airfield was "Serves them right for going out in the cold to listen to a monster spew lies about his political opposition." Then I thought about the people who had to be hospitalized and thought:"They didn't deserve to suffer for their stupidity. I hope they recover."

But then I thought again about the authoritarian traitor they had rushed to see and hear, the racist, rapist, bigoted, misogynistic son of buzzard who pleasured himself by separating children as young as 11 months old from their parents, the vile subhuman creature who has wrecked America and split the country in two while abusing the authority of his office, violating the law and constitutional restraints and realized that this, this was the vile lump of excrement they supported. And they offered up their support and their souls to Trump not despite his villainy and moral bankruptcy but, goddammit, because of it.

In the end, even understanding the ugliness in the hearts and souls of the people in that frozen crowd, I still hope they all recover, the ones hospitalized and the ones left to wait for hours in the freezing cold. I do, I hope they all recover.

I also hope their recovery takes a long, lingering, painful time.

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Response to RVN VET71 (Reply #29)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:30 AM

42. 4 months.

the youngest child whose parents cannot presently be found was 4 months old when they stole him.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 10:59 AM

32. It seems to me that you are feeling anger and pain.

That does not mean you lack empathy. You are rightfully angry. This misadministration has caused a huge wound in the hearts of many of us.

You are telling (mostly) nameless, faceless groups of people that you donít care,because of what theyíve done to you and me. Fuck them. But I would bet if you saw an older person with a MAGA hat in trouble, you would help them. Or if you knew a Trump supporter with Covid, you would feel for them. If they had a name and a face, I doubt youíd say ďfuck youĒ.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:07 AM

34. I don't think you've completely lost the ability

to be empathetic. Sounds like your empathy is focused on the victims and lacking for the perpetrators. Some people can feel empathy for both perpetrators and victims.

But when the perpetrator has the power to do great harm to a great number of people, and you are emotionally invested in stopping him and in caring for and about the people he has harmed, it is draining to still feel for the perpetrator and anyone who abets him. You end up wanting relief for yourself as well as for the victims - or at least I do. Something gives and you close off the part of yourself that could feel for the perp and those who abet him.

I can feel sadness for what Trump has become. To me, his childhood is transparent in his adult behavior. That transparency is aided by insights from Mary Trump. I can feel sadness for what makes people identify with him enough to support him.

But I cannot empathize with him or them beyond that. I don't have that much energy in me. It is taken up with seeing him - and them - stopped. It is taken up with concern for their victims. It is taken up with looking after my own well being, too, in the nightmare that Trump and his supporters have created. I have no energy left for Trump, his enablers, or his supporters.

I suspect that how you feel is similar to how I feel, since you have expressed concern for the people he has harmed, continues to harm, and will harm if not stopped. That is a person who has reached their empathy limit, but has not lost it completely.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:08 AM

36. I am the same way.

I think a lot of us have had those thoughts.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:17 AM

38. People have become meaner and nastier under this administration.

Although I largely suspect social media plays a part in it.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:23 AM

40. I have great empathy for all creatures great and small

Magas might be small but they aren't great so fuck 'em.








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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 11:34 AM

43. I think the fantasy of not caring helps in not feeling powerless.

Iím not saying there arenít people who truly wish ill on others but most of us, were we to walk past one of those people freezing or having a seizure, would try to help. Because we actually believe what we preach, that people matter and should be helped to live better lives.

But en masse they represent a real danger with their votes, and on rare occasion their acts. A whole lot of them live in terror of us, in an imaginary world where they have a kind of power they donít really have and we are a threat we really arenít.

Oh, Iím just riffing here, but I do think all but the truly sick among us (yeah, him and those in his circle of power) arenít actual sociopaths who would relish the death and suffering of others.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 01:05 PM

45. It is always in us, all the time.

Denying that we have the capacity for cruelty, selfishness, and vindictiveness is a sort of magical thinking. I think that the difference between a "good" person and an "evil" one is one thing (well not one, it is very complex but for the sake of brevity, one) struggle people who end up living decent lives where they minimally harm people and try to spread good, is struggle. We struggle against those base instincts that are inside of us. We try to care even when we don't want to.

Cryano, would you honestly leave a person stranded in the snow if you had the opportunity to help them? Even, if they were wearing a MAGA hat? I mean would you let them die in front of you?

I saw an older person wearing a MAGA hat walking and yes, I started to get upset, but then they tripped and fell and looked like they went down pretty hard. I stopped and went over and asked if they were okay. I called for assistance because they looked to have injured themselves. Did I think that the person was stupid for supporting Trump? Yes I sure did, but the attitude of "fuck them" is abstract in the reality of when we can directly intervene.

I have the same sentiments of people who support the idiot, then get screwed by him. Part of me says, "Well, they deserve it", but the struggle, as you said, the "disappointment" is something that still allows us to catch ourselves before we truly become inhumane. That is something completely lacking in Trump and his ardent supporters.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 01:10 PM

46. Humans are an overrated species. My empathy was segregated long ago.


Happy Halloween.

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Response to Cyrano (Original post)

Thu Oct 29, 2020, 01:29 PM

48. The empathy is there, it is for

the people not in the WH but exposed to those people who might get Covid due to the negligence at the WH.

The children and their parents.

The people who would suffer if Dotard were to win, which these people contribute to.

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