21 August 2014

A Lack of Empathy

    With all of the sad situations around the world today, it seems to me that what we have lost is our Sense of Empathy for our fellow human beings. Every crisis or event seems to follow a pattern in which the persons involved are portrayed as somehow less than human. Once that statement has been issued the floodgates open and the ugliness flows forth.
    The situation in Ferguson is a prime example of this. Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot to death by a police officer. While his body lay in the summer sun with witnesses capturing the image on their cell phones the demonization began.
    "Michael Brown was a Thug". This was one of the first and also most predictable responses from people. It has become second nature for us to categorize someone based on the color of their skin. The dog-whistle approach always seems to work the quickest. This approach is evil and it appeals to so many because it is also intellectually lazy. To say this and then proceed down the path to dehumanizing Micheal Brown simply requires no thought at all. The people who will follow this approach will simply never stop to think about what actually happened. If they do they resort to the next line of reasoning in this chain.
    "If Micheal Brown had done what the cop said, he would not have been shot". This next step once again fails to recognize what actually happened. Once again there is not thought required to process this statement, so anyone who questions it must be struggling to find a reason why Michael Brown was innocent of any crime that warranted immediate execution. The funny thing is that I always was taught that everyone is INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY! That misplaced and out-of-date reasoning simply cannot be allowed by the people who are already convinced that Micheal Brown must have somehow deserved to be shot.
    We will eventually reach the phase where every single moment of Michael Brown's all-too-short life is called out for judgement by those who never knew him. Somehow in this twisted world that Conservatives have created, any instance at all that shows Michael Brown did something that might be construed as out of the ordinary is grounds to claim that his fate was sealed at that point, and that some type of bizarre cosmic justice finally took its toll on him.
    While Michael Brown is being dehumanized to the world, another project is becoming apparent. The police officer who shot him must have acted correctly. Conservatives base this on the alleged past imperfections of Micheal Brown, or the pressure that police officers are under from dealing with people like Michael Brown. The police officer is transformed into the VICTIM in the minds of these people.
    Race is the 800-lb gorilla in the room that COnservatives dare not discuss unless it is to claim that Race is only a benefit to non-Whites in America. In their minds the police officer must have been right, first and foremost, because he is White and Michael Brown was Black. This justifies the dehumanizing of Michael Brown and quickly arrives at the foregone conclusion that race is only an issue to non-whites and is therefore less than relevant to the issue of Michael Brown's murder.
    To these Conservatives, the very idea that a community of which Micheal Brown was a part, would ever dare to rise up in anger and frustration, demand justice and demand respect is nothing more than an excuse for more people "like Michael Brown" to misbehave and break the Law". The racism in this viewpoint is blindingly obvious.
    I shudder when I hear people talk like this. I cannot understand how they will so easily throw away their empathy for another human being and indulge in the emotional and disturbing behaviors that I already mentioned. I feel for Michael Brown, as I feel for anyone who has been killed or harmed by injustice. I do not believe that Justice exists for any of us if it is DENIED to any of us.
    The bottom line is that the awful and repugnant behavior exhibited by Conservatives in the Micheal Brown instance can be explained by one simple statement. They don't care, because caring would require thought and self-examination. It is always easier to follow the herd, somewhere in the middle or towards the back of the pack so they will see the cliff before plummeting over it with their leaders. They will then claim that they were misled in the first place and quickly seek out the next leaders who will do their thinking for them.

R.I.P. Micheal Brown

    The world takes another step into darkness