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Although we are technically animals, there are many attributes that separate us, elevate us above the animal kingdom. We are reasoning creatures; we have the ability to empathize with others; we recognize cruelty when we see it. But over the last several years we have watched one characteristic become resented, even ridiculed and degraded because it doesn’t suit the preferences of others.
We are losing our humanity.
What do I mean by “humanity”? It is our capacity to be compassionate, sympathetic, generous. That means that most of us have degrees of this ability, depending on our personalities, our ability to relate to and care about others.
But it is only a capacity. If we don’t nurture it, it becomes weak and unavailable to us.
The opportunity to practice our humanity shows up every day of our lives. When we relate to a friend who is sick and bring him or her our favorite chicken soup; when we know someone who has lost a job, and we offer encouragement and maybe even suggestions to help the job search along; when we let people move in front of us at the grocery store line because they look beleaguered by crying children; when we simply sit and listen to the sorrows of another. Those are ways we strengthen our “humanity muscles.”
Experiencing our humanity is even more important when we are called to act in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations. When we dislike hospitals but go to visit a friend; when we are frightened by the specter of death of someone but spend time with him; when we attend a memorial service of someone we have lost; those moments are the ones that stretch us, that help us demonstrate our humanity.
Those are the moments that make us most human.
Unfortunately, our humanity is an endangered quality. For many, it isn’t relevant in their lives or is a low priority. Instead, as in the case of many on the Left, it has been replaced by the desire and demonstration of power, at any cost. Humanity, however, demands much more of us than power. In fact, it can only survive when a person is committed to two attributes: compassion and discipline.
Compassion is the emotion that connects us to the world, to our friends and families and neighbors. We can identify with the sufferings and struggles of others. Compassion, in some cases, leads to empathizing, believing that we know, at some level, what another person is going through. Compassion can also be a global experience; whether we are deeply saddened by genocide in Rwanda, the suffering of the North Korean people, or the killing of the Uighurs in China, we can’t ignore that there is misery worldwide.
In spite of the power of compassion, however, we must practice discipline in the way we respond to it. We cannot save the world. We know at many levels, as individuals, that to live productive lives we must measure the resources we spend. Even as Americans, we must weigh the use of our time, our money, even our emotional investment to practice compassion.
But the practice of both discipline and compassion must continually be evaluated. With discipline, we can have difficulty deciding the right amount to demonstrate: what is too little, how much is too much? Compassion has the same consequences: if we invest too much emotionally in any one situation, we deprive ourselves and others in our lives of our engagement.
So, it is the melding of discipline and compassion, tuned to every situation, that allows us to reveal our humanity.
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Unless a person has either grown up with these attributes and practiced them, or resolved at some point in his or her life that humanity is crucial to the lives of human beings, the appreciation of humanity will be at risk. You may say that humanity has been endangered since the beginning of time. I agree.
But never to the degree that we are seeing now.
The Left has driven the understanding of humanity from the common square at a level not seen in modern times:
- White children are being told by their schools that they are evil, part of the white supremacist and systemic racist system, and there is no escape.
- Parents are shown contempt by teachers and administrators for trying to protect their children.
- Citizens are being told that they must sacrifice their livelihood and wellbeing to support a radical climate agenda that cannot succeed.
- The government says we must treat illegal aliens with compassion, while they crowd them into inadequate facilities.
- Medical experts continue to spread fear and misinformation in order to intimidate the population with threats of further restrictions.
- Black people continue to be told that they are helpless and incapable of enabling themselves to pursue successful and rewarding lives.
- Our history has been distorted and smeared to propagate the belief that we live under an illegitimate government and we must be punished for our cooperation with it.
When the media, Left and radical legislators publicly united, we had to tolerate vicious insults, name-calling, and banishment; their lying and misinformation became commonplace. Gradually I believe the Left is turning us into less-than human beings. We are animals, not worthy of their consideration. Our ideas are toxic; our needs are irrelevant.
For now, we are being exiled from certain platforms. Eventually, they may decide we need to be removed from society, due to our hateful and destructive goals. We are dangerous. We are inconvenient. We are unnecessary.
* * * * *
I believe the Left is abandoning any façade of their belief in humanity. In spite of their call for compassion, they appear incapable of demonstrating it themselves. What happens when their humanity is relegated to the dust heap?
For the rest of us, we must find a way to maintain our own love of humanity.
In this atmosphere, I’m not sure how to do it. I do know that we must find that caring and compassionate place within ourselves that we can nurture when we are called to do so.
We must demonstrate that we are human beings who refuse to relinquish our commitment to humanity.Published in