A Few Thoughts on Empathy


Three images from the past few days have stuck in my mind.

The first was a group of anti-immigrant protesters screaming at a bus thought to be filled with Central American child refugees. It was instead filled with kids from the YMCA.

The second, even more disturbing, was of Israelis gathered on a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip, cheering as the Israeli Defense Force pummeled Gazans from land, sea, and air, Gazans unable to defend themselves, the rockets which Hamas launch towards Israel of no scope to combat a modern military.

The third was of drunken Russian separatists not permitting international investigators from working on the wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines jet shot down by, well, Russian separatists (with, I’m sure, an able assist from Russian military), leaving the strewn bodies to fester in the summer sun.

I’ve been struggling to put the events of the past week into some overarching structure. Yes, we can castigate Israelis, Russians, and Americans at the border. But taken in isolation they don’t present a clear picture. Taken in totality, one working with the other, they present a narrative.

Humans are on a precipice. We face challenges not faced by any previous generation. Despite the end of the Cold War, we are on a road to ruin. Not, perhaps, by nuclear Armageddon, but by an Armageddon of a thousand cuts: a war here, an atrocity there, and the ever looming shadow of global climate change. We’re quite aware of the warnings, quite cognizant of the dangers ahead, but can’t seem to refrain from acting in the old, tired ways.

Perhaps the dire situation reinforces acting in those old, territorial ways. The earliest manifestations of our brains, the lizard brain, the one which controls our fight or flight mechanism, is never stronger than when danger manifests itself—or when danger is foisted upon us by outside actors, trying to elicit a practiced response. Thus the Russian separatists, thinking they’re going to be subsumed by a Ukrainian horde. Thus the Israelis, thinking puny Hamas is going to drive them into the sea. Thus the frightened old white Americans, thinking 8 year old Salvadorans are going to destroy “their” country.

These modes of thinking do not serve the present situation. They never served humanity, if truth be told, but humanity was never as interconnected as it is now. Xenophobia and hatred were regrettable but the damage they wrought was tolerable when communities were separated by distance. We no longer have the luxury of that distance. The world witnesses live the atrocities perpetrated by Israelis on Palestinians. The world witnesses the horror of a civilian airliner being blown out of the sky, and the perpetrators governing access to the crash site. The world witnesses bigots screaming and aiming guns at children on the southern US border. Nothing happens in isolation any longer. Injustice sears itself into the world’s consciousness. And that consciousness, which demands justice, fairness, humanity grows at every crime which confronts it.

What we have is a war between empathy and disdain, between compassion and hatred. And thrown into the mix is indifference, an attitude where one can’t be bothered to care one way or the other, preferring to focus on the particular, the quotidian, the parochial. Those who are indifferent, however, are not not making a choice; by their indifference they have thrown their lot in with hatred. Hatred festers in indifference, grows in strength when it’s not confronted. There is no neutral ground; apathy gives succor to disdain and hatred. It’s not a third way.

And at this point in the human story, where our civilization has advanced to a state where the slightest wind can send it back into a dark age, the only thing which will continue it is empathy. Only a realization that we are all children of the same universe, all with needs and aspirations, will save the species. War and hatred are dead ends, literally; they will spell the doom of this experiment called humanity. Choosing tribalism will not lead to the survival of your own tribe, but to the extinction of all tribes, all peoples. Only when all peoples are recognized as fully human, with valid and necessary dreams, will we begin to move off of the wheel of conflict, struggle, and death. What the Israelis, Russians, and Americans at the border are doing will not ensure the survival of the Folk; it will, rather, ensure its extinction. One cannot withstand the tide; it will wash over you, one way or the other.

The only path forward, the only path which ensures my survival, and the survival of this wondrous civilization which allows my words to be transmitted around the world, is to guarantee my neighbor’s survival, and not only her survival, but her thriving. Only the recognition that we are all worthy of life and respect will stop this slide into disaster. Anything less and the future holds only darkness.

This isn’t an easy task. Nothing worthwhile is. But it’s the only choice which leads to life. Everything else leads to an unmarked, unmourned grave.

148 Responses to “A Few Thoughts on Empathy”

  1. 6 Dudette
    July 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Wow! Hey LL! You’re amazing! Hope you’re having a Happy Birthday Weekend! {{{{{ Liberal Librarian }}}}}
    Left something for you on the previous thread.

    I just popped in real quick. Can’t stay, but will be back to chat and catch up.
    Am headed out to take nephew and young cousin to the Dream Cars exhibit at the High Museum. Fun! Fun! Fun!

    See ya later!

  2. July 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Well said, LL. Much to think about from your thoughtful piece.

  3. 9 Cindy
    July 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm


    Bravo and ***** 5 stars for this EXCELLENT well written piece. At the end of the day, we need to be our brothers and sisters keepers.

    As you have stated so eloquently; “This isn’t an easy task. Nothing worthwhile is. But it’s the only choice which leads to life. Everything else leads to an unmarked, unmourned grave.”

    I hope that you and Mrs. LL had a wonderful time celebrating your Birthday last evening. Wishing you many more with lots of blessings.

    Thank you for this masterpiece – ENJOY YOUR DAY!!!

  4. July 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Powerful, passionate, beautiful words LL, as ever, and the three images you mentioned will burn forever, the ultimate example of man’s inhumanity to man, and the sheer cruelty that we witness day by day by day. Whatever happened ‘I am my brother’s keeper’?

    “The only path forward, the only path which ensures my survival …. is to guarantee my neighbor’s survival, and not only her survival, but her thriving.”


  5. 11 jacquelineoboomer
    July 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks for writing this, LL. We all need to read and heed, then try to lift up our heads and press on. In particular, we need to support our own politicians who actually have empathy – and are willing to use it. We know who they are!

  6. July 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    So why is the American flag wavy ?
    Because, when they stuck it in the ground, just that little motion, made the flag wavy.
    No, it’s not windy. 🙂

  7. 13 anniebella
    July 20, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I’m so proud of that young man who introduce FLOTUS at the State’s Kids Dinner. I finally learn his name, it is Braeden Mannering.

    • 14 Ladyhawke
      July 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      I am in love with this amazing young man. I have watched him tell his story about Brae’s Brown Bags (3B) several times and I cry each time I watch it. He is a sweetheart and a little gentlemen. I could see FOTUS welling up as he spoke. To think he has a charity at such a young age. He really lifts your spirits with all of the madness in the world.

      • 15 anniebella
        July 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        Ladyhawke, These are the people you are to be proud of, not the bitter, mean folks who are fill with such hate. One thing I love that this President and First Lady always say is that once you have made it through that door, you do not shut that door, you reach back and help bring someone else through. To listen to that young man, I just know his Mom is so proud of him.

        • 16 anniebella
          July 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm

          I didn’t even mention his program he has to help feed the hungry. He really does lift your spirit.

        • 17 0388jojothecat
          July 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm

          Thanks for remembering The Kids State Dinner last week…one of the bright moments of the week. There should be more shows about the good things our youth do instead of tributes to the irresponsible and self-obsorbed. I watched Braeden’s speech and was so proud. You can tell FLOTUS did not know about his intro. It was so touching.

  8. 18 mtmarilyn
    July 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Good Morning TODville, Chips, NW and all .

    Liberal Librarian, Hope you had a wonderful birthday yesterday. Thank you for this great post. Empathy is one thing I so worry about. Seems so many have the idea I have mind and I don’t want any inferior to get any part of it, but oh, we live in a free country. My heart aches for all this children and families.

    Now back to house cleaning, We have company coming this Tuesday.

  9. July 20, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    The responses to this tweet are mean spirited.

    • 20 hopefruit2
      July 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Which goes back to LL’s main thrust in his essay…As our President keeps reminding us, cynicism is a choice, hope is a BETTER choice.

  10. 21 hopefruit2
    July 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    // “What we have is a war between empathy and disdain, between compassion and hatred. And thrown into the mix is indifference, an attitude where one can’t be bothered to care one way or the other, preferring to focus on the particular, the quotidian, the parochial. Those who are indifferent, however, are not not making a choice; by their indifference they have thrown their lot in with hatred. Hatred festers in indifference, grows in strength when it’s not confronted. There is no neutral ground; apathy gives succor to disdain and hatred. It’s not a third way.” //


    Well-said, and very powerful essary, LL. Thanks for sharing your insightful analysis, as always!

  11. 22 Vicki
    July 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Hi, Liberal Librarian.
    A belated Happy Birthday.
    In Israel the opposite of empathy is what is taught.
    The atrocities happening in Gaza now are referred to in the Largest Circulation and Free–newspaper Israel HaYom—as “Mowing The Lawn.”
    You read that right.
    “Mowing the lawn” as the dead and maimed pile up. Israel does not target civilians, it insists, as it shells densely populated residential neighborhoods.
    They are simply mowing the lawn.

    I don’t see how this could be more Wrong.

    • 23 Jeff
      July 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      To Israel what the Nazi’s did was wrong simply because it happened to Jewish people. To anyone else they would have been perfectly fine.

      • 24 Vicki
        July 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        Too harsh and impossible to know, Jeff.
        I’m comfortable with criticizing on what is known, not what we guess.

        We can all agree that Israel should not have to live with bombardment.
        Next we need to advertise what the Gazans are forced to endure, not solely their response to their oppression.

        It will help distressed Americans to understand that at the best of times Gaza gets electricity 8 hours a day. Now it is mostly gone completely.
        Gaza is dependent on Israel for water. Now it is even more scarce.
        Gazans are usually locked inside an area unable to visit family or friends without passing through long lines and checkpoints.
        Now all gates are closed.
        Gazans were restricted to a 6 mile part of the mediterranean sea for them to fish. Now cut to 3 miles. Israeli boats patrolling all the water.

        This is what we can spread and not nasty guesses about the Israeli people. The facts, if known, would tell the story better than insults.

  12. 25 hopefruit2
    July 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    SOS Kerry telling it like it is. And it’s time other Dems follow suit. He spoke the whole Goddamn truth here, and I’m sure he was speaking about the entire MSM, not just FOX News.

    • 26 Cindy
      July 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Happy BEAUTIFUL Sunday to you hopefruit2,

      Wishing for you, a WONDERFUL and ENJOYABLE DAY!

      I’ve been waiting for the Dems to follow suit. Telling it like it is (truths), is what the American people need to hear from the Dems, at every opportunity the Dems have on the airwaves.

      There is no room for timidity in the politics of today.

      Repukes lie, and they repeat the same lie over, and over, and over, until it becomes truth by default.

      SOS Kerry gets it, and I’m proud of him for speaking up, and speaking out.

      • 27 anniebella
        July 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        I’m so glad John Kerry is the S.O.S. He will not let the two bit media get away with their B.S.

    • 28 Nena20409
      July 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      The sad thing is that SoS Kerry had to say it. Dems are in DC…..they would rather attack POTUS than to praise him. In the 1990s, Dems were everywhere standing up for Clinton………today, Nothing. That is the problem.

      I was watching CNN for 2-3 mins and Amy of Blaze Glenn Beck’s TV was there and there was also this Black guy, a doctorate, he works for Huffpost Live and is also a CNN contributor. He was sold as a supporter of Pres Obama who also voted for him……Nothing he said in that brief moment was not justified without a Criticism. Amy Holmes is predictable. But to claim to be an “Obama” supporter with a sentence justified in form of criticism…….that in a nutshell is the problem.

      • 29 Cindy
        July 20, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        “In the 1990s, Dems were everywhere standing up for Clinton………today, Nothing. That is the problem.”

  13. 30 hopefruit2
    July 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Exactly. Instead of engaging in silly, childish school-yard crap about “weak” president.

  14. July 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    BREAKING: VC is currently commenting on Early Bird Chat.

    That’s EARLY Bird Chat.

    Don’t laugh.

    Oh, go on then.

    • 32 Layla
      July 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      Nahhh, it must be ‘cv’

      • 34 vcprezofan2
        July 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm

        Thanks, partner. *That one* insists on slowing me up; probably doesn’t want to have to fight with me on the next new post entry.

        Hold the fort, if you can as I’m making my slow way forwards. /Whisper – am actually trying to read two posts at once, which is why I saw her comment just now. Am flipping back and forth between this and R & S – almost getting caught up ……. then I’m going to strangle her./

        • 37 Cindy
          July 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm

          Good “BEAUTIFUL” Sunday afternoon to you vcp,

          I do hope that you and your family will have a SPLENDID and ENJOYABLE DAY!

          I just wanted to say “THANK YOU” for posting the video of Governor Deval Patrick, regarding his statement about taking in some of the children from the border (watched all 7 ½ minutes). It was heartwarming to hear him speak so passionately about caring for others. My heart felt his compassion for something he believes in with no apologies. It appears that he was holding back tears when he explained what his faith teaches him about caring for others. This is a speech that people in general can learn from, and especially the Republican Party and their politicians. What does it cost anyone, to be kind, and compassionate towards others? The tears came down when I heard him speak, and speak from the heart, he did.

          He states that his faith teaches him; treat others the way you want to be treated. I raised my child unit on this statement with some caveats. You don’t ever have to worry about hurting someone, if you treat them the way you want to be treated. Dr. Child unit didn’t understand why I would speak to people who didn’t speak back to me; we all lived in the same community, but why not ignore them? I explained it this way; never allow people to steal your joy or cause you to lose your blessings in life because of their profound ignorance.
          They’re not that important to cause you pain.

          It’s their ugliness inside, and their own insecurity that causes them to believe that it’s all about them, they don’t like who and what they are, and so they attempt to inflict their own pain on to others. So you keep living right, and watch and see how your life is blessed, and she has been the beneficiary of “extreme blessings” because of our faith, and I taught her to treat others the way she wants to be treated. This is one of the many qualities I love about President Obama; not letting the fools steal his joy, and stopping what God has anointed him to do for the American people, he’s favored and blessed.

          Governor Patrick is a compassionate and beautiful human being with a soul, no doubt his faith taught him the importance of treating others right but he has lived it as well. He cares so deeply about the children. What the republicans and all of these hateful individuals who are exhibiting their hate towards these children and their mothers don’t understand; you get back from life what you put out.

          Governor Patrick understands this and I have no doubt that his blessings will continue to chase him down, and his cup will always be full from the overflow for years to come, and I pray that he will continue in politics. President Obama has stated that he doesn’t want the Governor to leave politics; seeing a future for him as President one day no doubt. The world would be a better place if people understood compassion and Governor Patrick gets it. He is not allowing the haters to steal his joy and stopping him from doing what is right for the children.

          Thank you for sharing this “BEAUTIFUL” piece.



          • 38 vcprezofan2
            July 20, 2014 at 1:36 pm

            Cindy! /suspiciously/ Are you working with Chips to help delay me?

            • 39 Cindy
              July 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm

              No, not at all, just needed to thank you for posting this.

              I watched it twice and sent it to Dr. child unit. It’s so BEAUTIFUL……..

              It ties right to what LL wrote about.

              Ok….you’re free now, ENJOY! : )

        • 40 99ts
          July 20, 2014 at 7:16 pm

          Wear it with pride VC – here I am 8 hours later commenting on LL’s post – which gave much pause for thought. I can’t get past it.

    • 42 GGail
      July 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Chips, stop making fun of our vc. 😀

      Hope she gets here before this post ends!

    • 43 hopefruit2
      July 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Oh.my.Goodness. Off to let Chuck Todd know so that he can report vc’s being stuck on Early Bird as being a major blow to the Obama WH!

      • 44 vcprezofan2
        July 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm

        Sigh. Some friend, you are!

        (every time I jump back to this post I encounter some treachery.) 😀 am going back to R & S

        • 45 hopefruit2
          July 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm


          🙂 🙂 🙂

        • 46 GGail
          July 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

          vc, are you leaving replies to comments back there or just reading?

          • 47 vcprezofan2
            July 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

            Caught! Can’t a gal do both? 😀

            It’s all youse guys faulst for saying so much each time. If my buddy Amk had been here I could at least have counted on several 1-2-3 word comments to move me along. 😉

            • 48 GGail
              July 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm

              Oh My Lawd! Hahahaha. I can understand (some what) reading to see what you missed, but leaving replies? I never go back. In fact, I woke up after Early Bird, and just began my morning on R&S. I still don’t know what’s on Early Bird.

              • 49 vcprezofan2
                July 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm

                Some days I’m nosier than others – especially if I’d signed off early the night before.

    • July 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Hey!! VC was not alone, and I hardly know where I am, even! 😉

  15. 54 hopefruit2
    July 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm

  16. 56 Jeff
    July 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve been slamming the message boards on Gaza. So many are against the Palestinians and are getting killed for the crime of being a Palestinian. I guess I went too far and got barred from posting on a couple of them, Huffington Post among them.

    • 57 Layla
      July 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      You should wear that as a ‘badge of honor’

      • 58 Jeff
        July 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm

        Noted that despite it’s claim of fairness how many pro-Israel people speaking a bunch of lies over and over again. John Kerry was caught referring to how wrong this was and clearly doesn’t agree with it. I don’t think anyone with a heart of compassion would think that this was alright.

  17. July 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Morning everyone.

    Thanks for posting, Chips. It’s a nice cloudy day in L.A., and I was enjoying a nice long sleep in.

    It’s amazing how a day away in the country and some good wine can concentrate thoughts. I must have started and abandoned 3 or 4 different essays on what’s been happening.

    • July 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      It’s a gem LL, so beautifully written, thank you again Maestro. Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday!

    • July 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Isn’t it GLORIOUS?!!!

      Felt like an early April morning outside today. My patio container plants are so happy.

      And yesterday, we got a few drop of the “R” word — rain.

      Will wonders never cease?

      • 63 GGail
        July 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        The moisture is good for our plants and lawn – what with the water restrictions, but it’s activating my allergies and I’ve been sniffling all weekend.

  18. 64 carla4obama
    July 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    LL once again your words have managed to bring these 3 seemingly separate events together and give them a united meaning. Hate is evil. The human faces that spew hate are “dead and empty” and are no longer human. My soul has been so depressed this week, the images you described, the images we have all witnessed make me weep. And you are correct….those that are indifferent have taken the side of darkness. And why is it in London 100,000 people will show up and stand up to evil, but in this country……silence. Your words LL stand for what we can become….but we are not there. Thank you LL, how I wish you were in charge of our written media, our media is empty and shallow…empathy to them is weakness.

  19. 65 dotster3
    July 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks to LL for this well-thought post. I often think about how we all need to step outside our “tribe”, to try to understand walking in another’s shoes, to make a more sincere effort, expand our horizons, move beyond selfish interests. I still see too much crippling insularity in many tribes. And this past week has been horrific, making this clear on a grand scale—–without going into some of the underlying causes—–religion, power, baseless fear, for ex. But I see encouraging signs here and there in my corner of the world——more and more sightings of diverse social gatherings etc.—–like at my gr-daughter’s bday party this week——I think there were as many different “tribes” represented as there were attendees. And I have seen dramatic changes in long held ugly beliefs and attitudes in my life. Things are in violent unrest at present in many locations, but I still believe we will come out on the other side, still have much hope for a better future, a more cohesive world.

  20. July 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    LL, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you. I hope you enjoy a day of love, delicious food and drink and an appreciation of all your gifts.

    And thank you for this very timely essay that helps us grapple with our thoughts and feelings about this world. We have to find a way to cope and contribute to changing this madness. I’m reminded of EErickson’s final stage of maturity: integrity or despair.

  21. July 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    To the person who thinks there was nothing happening: I was on the internet all day, and there were protests in Cleveland, New York and elsewhere. Just google.

    And a song that I needed this morning: A song that was both comforting and energizing:

    • 68 hopefruit2
      July 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks for posting Carol. And you are right. This person got a lot of pushback, even from people who were participating in grassroots movements. Obviously, the media will not cover these events – not unless they can find an “EMPEACH/INPEACH Obummer” sign hidden among the other signs…

  22. July 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I have my issues with Tom Nichols, but this is a pretty good analysis: http://tomnichols.net/blog/2014/07/20/the-panic-in-red-square/

    Of course, he was one of those smitten with Putin’s barechested manliness.

  23. 71 dotster3
    July 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I see Marine 1 has delivered PBO to Ft. Belvoir for a round of golf. He so needs this escape for a few hours, a chance to breathe, to be a “normal person”, to enjoy himself, relax with friends, to rejuvenate. So stuff it, critical dumbheads.

    • July 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      Agree 100%, dotster.

      Golf is played at such a leisurely pace (waiting patiently for others to have their turn) in gorgeous surroundings, it’s just the kind of pace/setting that a person can clear their mind and arrive at an AHA! moment.

      Focusing and concentrating are good for small-scale solutions, but sometimes it takes a drive or a long walk for all the pieces to fit together when considering strategic action.

      I hope PBO’s recreation lasts for many hours.

    • 73 hopefruit2
      July 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      And if it’s a Sunday, it’s Mark Knoller on the case, of course.

  24. July 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Bye- most if not all people here are against the Administration on this war in Gaza.
    Kerry was very profound putting the blame solely on Hamas today, even saying Israel has a right to defend itself.
    Now, I wouldn’t go that far, I think Israel should do Spec Ops and drone strikes and destroy all tunnels.
    But, Kerry was clear, he thinks Hamas is to blame for this ground operation.

    • July 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Btw not bye .
      Bye ? Hehe

    • 81 Layla
      July 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      FYI I am NOT against the Administration. Nobody knows what is going on behind the scenes. The Admin has to be very careful about what they say at this point in time.

      • July 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm

        Clearly most if not all comments on this site has been against Israel.
        Kerry saw it otherwise.
        Just a point that it’s both sides

    • 83 Jeff
      July 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Not sure where your getting the idea that Kerry is actually for this war. Maybe I’m wrong, but I suspect that Kerry is very much against what is going on in Gaza, Obama as well, but they both have to be careful here. Taking the side of Palestine would be a bad move considering much of our media is bought and paid for by Israel and their allies.

      • 84 Layla
        July 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        EXACTLY!!!!! I would add that Congress is also bought and paid for

        • 85 Vicki
          July 20, 2014 at 2:08 pm

          I hope nobody is against Israel, jovie.
          What is needed is an understanding of the facts on the ground.
          Please see my comment above on this thread.

      • July 20, 2014 at 2:05 pm

        I didn’t say they’re for the war. I said Kerry said Israel has a right to defend itself clearly putting the blame on Hamas.
        And that’s all I’ve been saying.
        So, one could say, I am with the administration on this. 🙂

        • 87 Jeff
          July 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm

          Kerry said but how Kerry really feels are two entirely different things. Or do you not know that? BTW saying that Israel has the right to defend itself I could also say that Palestine has the right to defend itself. The administration has taken the same stance as all the previous administrations on this issue. Just because this is so doesn’t mean I should agree with this stance and doesn’t mean I am against this administration based on this issue alone.

    • 88 hopefruit2
      July 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      I’m not against the Administration. It takes two to make a quarrel and PBO recognizes this. Right now, PBO is like a parental figure and the other heads of states are like children clamoring for his attention, while trying to each be his “favorite.” He says don’t do X, Y, Z, but they disobey, test the limits that he sets, but when they get into trouble, they’re all running back to him to kiss their boo-boo and make it all better.

      Unfortunately, the heads of states of these countries need to realize that they are no longer children – they are adults who now are tasked with taking care of their own children in their countries.

    • 89 Nena20409
      July 20, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      The bombastic headline is misleading. However, SoS Kerry is not in support of the killings nor of the terrible violence.

    • 97 derbingleguy
      July 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      What did Hamas do to provoke all of this? They’ve denied having anything to do with the 3 teenagers. Yes I know it’s Hamas but I thought they usually took credit for their destruction. Bombing and invading were Bibi’s ideas. That and sabotaging the peace negotiations because he doesn’t want a two state solution. Abbas walked him right up to the line and Bibi freaked out.

      • 98 nospin
        July 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm

        “Bombing and invading were Bibi’s ideas. That and sabotaging the peace negotiations because he doesn’t want a two state solution”

        Exactly. Hamas had nothing to do with this.

  25. 99 sjterrid
    July 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this brilliant essay, LL. This is what I believe drove me and so many others to support then Senator Obama. He has great empathy for people and recognizes that we have to keep working to make sure everybody is included. We can’t just stand back or we will all suffer.

    I hope you had a great birthday, yesterday!

  26. 100 dotster3
    July 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    This is a very touching story from CBS Sunday Morning today——disabled man finds a home in Mi. firehouse——has spent 6 hrs. a day there, 365 days/yr. for 60 years. They treat him like family. All benefit.

  27. July 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    LL, your gift for writing is such a wonder to behold.

    Coalescing thoughts from such a dangerous week into a lyrical essay on the humanity of empathy is a stroke of genius.

    During the interim period between President Obama’s election in 2008 to his inauguration in 2009, my heart swelled with pride that Americans had the wisdom to elect such an empathetic soul.

    I can’t recall the specific instances, but I know that I was convinced that America would be reminded of that which made our country great — its huge heart and unbridled empathy (e.g., the Marshall Plan). I was convinced that Americans would realize what a wise choice they made in electing a strong leader whose first impulse is empathy, and would strive to emulate his example by reminding themselves how important empathy is.

    Well, that lasted until the summer 2009, when the MSM began their full scale attack on our President, even as our country continued to be decimated by the disastrous GWB economic “policies.”

  28. July 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

  29. July 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm

  30. July 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

  31. July 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Ok, 45 minutes until Monty Python is live on my telly. I will be unavailable after that.

    • 114 vcprezofan2
      July 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      😯 Haven’t you see them all often enough? Geez!

      OTH, a guy should be able to enjoy his birthday weekend without nagging from the penny section – Happy Days, old….oops… young man! 😉

  32. 115 pickle48
    July 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Excellent essay, LL. The window for learning compassion begins to close about age three. We CAN learn to be compassionate after that but it will have to be a rational choice we continuously make rathan than the natural visceral response we learn very young. This early learning requires “attunement” between parent and child. 40% of American children do not develop a secure attachment to parents, which impairs such attunement. Correlates of this failure to develop secure attachments are being an unwanted child, lower socioeconomic status, parental stresses, problems, and addictions, inadequate child nutrition, etc., etc. How we treat children MATTERS for the entire society.

  33. July 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Ha! Can it be? Is it possible? Am I all caught up with y’all, and can now say Good Morning?! Prolly a new thread about to bust open, and I must get on with chores, starting with brushing my ever so patient kitty cat!! Bbl, we had real rain, really, noisy, saturating rain, in the night. It was wonderful, just wonderful! Now, if only the ‘lady’ downstairs didn’t use the heaviest perfume ever created (rises up and blasts into my windows) and the dude upstairs had a life which did not include 18 hours a day of television, this might be a very fine day! The woes of a first world existence, eh?

  34. 117 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Beautiful Essay LL. You are so good.

    Dudette is the Au ⭐ winner 😉

    Glad to see Danny with his How Much is the dog in the window Thread. Thanks Danny.

  35. 118 vcprezofan2
    July 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Yeeeaah, I’m here at last, even if I still have more comments to read on this post! So there, Chips Chica! 😛 😛

    Of course, I’m hungry now so I may have to go in search of food soon…. creating another lapse. 😦

  36. 126 taiping1
    July 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Wonderful essay! It captures the stark difference between the essential message of our President (“I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.” Our fates are intertwined. While the GOP pushes fear, hate, and division. I watched all of the We Are One Inaugural Concert last night. I still have hope.
    The link below is the full HD concert.

  37. 127 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Those who say why don’t the Gazaians(sp) relocate.

    One question. Where should they relocate? In a dense small area of 1.8M, perhaps, one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

  38. 128 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Just freaking unbelievable.

  39. 133 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm


    Since dumping his fiance days before the wedding……he has won two events.


  40. 134 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    No Breaking news to 60 Palestinians killed and possible more since not all areas demolished have been inspected for death tolls.

  41. July 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Great essay LL! Empathy means we feel connection to other beings on this planet. With connection comes compassion. I believe compassion is not an emotion, it is an ethical commitment based on the reality of the common life we share on this plant. Karen Armstrong and other leaders in the world have come together to formulate a Charter for Compasssion, here: http://charterforcompassion.org

  42. 137 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I will applaud Europeans when they act uniformly. Talk is indeed, cheap.

  43. 138 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I love this story.

    They are still dressing alike.

    I love Twins of all types.

  44. 140 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I wonder if the Belgium leader has seen this. 193 of the 298 were his fellow citizens.

    • July 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Nena, I’m sure he’s seen it and the hundreds of other photos of the way in which Putin’s thugs are behaving including the photos of the refrigerated train cars and the reports from the train engineers that they don’t know where they will be transporting the bodies. The Ukrainian government has released audio intercepts of discussions among various Russians in the field and back home regarding ensuring that the flight recorders go to Moscow. It’s one colossal display of Putin’s continued crimes against humanity and any one who paid any attention to his actions in Chechyna and Georgia and Crimea is the least bit surprised.

  45. July 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    • 143 Nena20409
      July 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      His write-op on his FaceBook was partially read today on C-SPAN Washington Journal this AM. I think he gets it that his fellow EU leaders. He was cowardly for not naming names. He used 1914 and the lackadaisical attitude then to make his point.

  46. 144 Nena20409
    July 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm

  47. July 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    • 147 derbingleguy
      July 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      That’s Diahann Carrol on his arm and Paul Newman next to her with shades and beard. It also looks like Charlton Heston and Harry Belafonte are there as well.

  48. July 20, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I think that Nancie …in an earlier post….spoke of our LL and what he does and how extraordinary his words are…..I co-sign them…

    this essay cuts thru the haze and the fog…..and goes to what we all must see….here is the money line for me…

    The only path forward, the only path which ensures my survival, and the survival of this wondrous civilization which allows my words to be transmitted around the world, is to guarantee my neighbor’s survival, and not only her survival, but her thriving. Only the recognition that we are all worthy of life and respect will stop this slide into disaster. Anything less and the future holds only darkness…


    because there is no other way!!

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