It’s easier said than done, but yes, we should have empathy for bigots, Trump included. We should reject racism, sexism, and homophobia everywhere it lurks. I’m certain these things are wrong and need to be confronted with all the resources we can muster. But I firmly believe that every human being deserves our empathy.
Let me get this out of the way: I’m a hypocrite. We all are, but I’m bigger than most. You’ll soon see why.
I started writing a blog piece entitled “Dear Mr. President” and it took President Trump to task for not reading books. The piece was kind of caustic—the usual liberal and intellectual sneering. The writing itself wasn’t very good, but that’s actually beside the point. The real point is that I am in fact a condescending liberal and think President Trump is the least intellectually curious president of modern times. And because of this, I shouldn’t have written this letter.Read More
There is a saying—often wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill—that if a person is a conservative in his twenties, he has no heart; but if he is a liberal in his forties, he has no brain. Well, I wish there were more brainless middle-aged white men in America. Only 31% of white men voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I am a member of this 40+ brainless club, but there are fewer and fewer middle-aged white guys willing to join, especially in traditional communities,Read More
What are the qualities we look for in a spouse? What do angst-ridden teens want from their parents? What do elderly mothers and fathers crave from their adult children? I would argue that in families the single most important quality we can look for is empathy. Our spouses may be brave or brilliant or bright-eyed, but what I think we want most is someone to listen and really care—someone to understand what motivates us and what drives us nuts.Read More
I watch a lot of cable news, which often prompts my kids to ask me some version of: what’s the difference between a Republican and a Democrat? It should be an easy question to answer. I’ve taught political science classes at NYU. I have a bunch of degrees. I’ve published articles that might lead one to believe I should know how to answer this question. But I usually begin my answerRead More