Blogpost # 560      ‘TIS THE SEASON: [Empathy]

The advent of the holiday season, not unlike the ringing of a twelve-month alarm clock, seems to function as  a “wake-up” reminder, to a discreet portion of the most insular minded, self- absorbed, American citizens, of the classic moral precepts of humanism and empathy. Charles Dickens, successfully, convinced the most hard-hearted Londoner, Ebenezer Scrooge, of such rectitude and indeed, the sublime pleasure, and acquired feelings of self-fulfillment, by thoughtful acts of assistance to the needy. Contextually, however, we find it, telling, that Mr. Scrooge, experienced his humanistic epiphany (with the aid of a ghost, provided by the Victorian moralist) on the day of Christmas. One would like to, have, empirical confidence that Ebenezer’s extreme change of persona was thereafter, an enduring, one.

 Many individuals, whose chosen lifestyle would exemplify, self -absorption and an utter absence of  humanistic empathy, for those, outside his daily sphere, yet, on the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays, will, self-righteously, render some charitable homage to the downtrodden and hungry;( some in a delusional- redemptive mode), render voluntary service, at a soup kitchen, or shelter, for the homeless and hungry. While we do, applaud such holiday epiphanies, it remains, eternally, evident and irrefutable, that hunger and abject poverty, empirically, exist throughout the entire twelve-month year, and not merely, as a vehicle of ephemeral conscience -soothing and personal convenience, on the holiday season.

Perhaps, more reprehensible, (but not more risible), than the perennial, humanist, are the many more, thoughtless, individuals, whose public sentiments and action, would confound any discernable suspicions of human empathy and  charitable assistance, and continue so, on a dependable and regular, twelve- month basis, sans holiday epiphany.

Included, in this, latter category, are those who, for selfish or xenophobic reasons, adamantly, oppose immigration and are proximately, responsible for the pitiful travails of innumerable, individuals and families, desperately, fleeing danger and abject poverty; responsive, to the express invitation of New York Harbor’s, Statue of Liberty, who (in the lyrical words of Emma Lazarus), eternally, issues the empathic, distinctly, American, invitation: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled, masses, yearning to breathe free…”

It is disconcerting to be, once more, actually obliged to observe, that as the World’s richest and freest Nation, and one, most relevantly, entirely populated, by immigrants and their progeny, America’s established policy of immigration has eternally, been road blocked by ignorant, autocratic leaning, right- wing Americans. Such thoughtless, individuals, whose predilections more resemble Fascism than Democracy, despite, personally being in fortunate possession, of the  veritable, cornucopia of benefits, derived, necessarily, from the earlier immigration, of members of their own families, would, nevertheless, in selfish, and in faux- xenophobic manner, distinguish earlier, settled, American immigrants, (“Americans”)from those, (“Foreigners”) who, for reasons of similar urgency, aspire, to share the American dream.

There is also, little reason to award any empathic, holiday credit to those individuals who discriminate against others, who, born with such an admixture of chromosomes and hormones, as, chemically and systemically, compels them to identify, respectively, with genders, other, than the ones with which they were identified, or, assigned, at birth. Which bigoted individual can assert rationally, appropriate standing to either disapprove, or, indeed, approve, of such natural responses to biological phenomena, or the nature of their resultant, life styles and marriages. How, indeed, does the biologically, motivated selection of an “alternate,” gender, by others, become a matter of any rational interest to these bigoted parties?

Unwarranted prejudice, is as equally, irrational, neurotic and un-American, practiced by those, who have historically, and immorally, persisted in their prejudicial, hatred, toward others, based, solely, upon the skin color with which they were born. Such irrational bigotry has tragically, persisted over the centuries, as a vile, social and political evil, and in our view, is empirically, pathological; such virulent pathogen, eternally, festering, like a toxic microbe, in chronically, ill-natured people.

Lastly, the optimism of America’s venerable Founders was clearly, revealed, by their rosy, prediction, that controverted, political  issues, arising in the newly created, Democratic Republic, would be the subject of collegial debate, between opposing, informed, citizens, the results of which, to serve as a guide to its responsive, leaders, in the new Nation created, “by and for the People.” Instead, citizens of disparate opinion, formed insular, “group think” “tribes,” engaged in veritable, Cold War, with other, like groups of disparate opinion.

The Nation subsequently, became, further, Balkanized, by the catalyzing, appearance on the National scene of the aberrant, Donald Trump, whose ignorance and incapacity to serve as President, were, only exceeded, by his self-dealing, criminal behavior and arbitrary bigotry. We have copiously, written on this unpleasant subject, and it would seem contextually, sufficient, to, briefly, refer to the resultant, unfortunate state of widespread and divisive, intra- citizen antipathy.

We have little hope, that, as to the extant, roiling pot of citizen political differences, and, contextually, the general disinclination for empathy and publicly, motivated sentiment,, there would be any chance, whatsoever, of even a temporary, holiday rapprochement or reconciliation. The divisive, political differences, and the absence of humanistic feelings, especially regarding, gay and racial hatred, albeit, at this traditionally, designated, season of goodwill, and peace, appear to be fixed in atavistic concrete; regarding which, signature credit for pernicious, assistance, is to be attributed to the former, demagogic and miscreant, President, Donald J. Trump.

Such egregious blemishes on our National character, seem to unrelentingly, mar our Nation’s perceived body politic, and without, it appears, a holiday break.



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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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