After a week’s recovery from a Facebook debate I stupidly and accidentally started, I’m reflecting on a simple truth about people that really slapped me in the face:
Some people have empathy and compassion for others. Some people don’t.
What I posted last week: An article about a study concluding that long-term poverty results in behavior very similar to long-term sleep deprivation. In other words, those stuck in poverty tend to make poor decisions, and basically lose ability to function effectively. My point was that I’ve seen this effect in action in families I’ve worked with. In fact, I’ve lived this phenomenon myself during a particularly difficult period of my adult life. I came out of my situation with an understanding of just how difficult it is to survive poverty, and with intense compassion toward those who live it for an entire lifetime. Because that time of my life was a nastily unfortunate aberration, our family was able to come through it and get back on our feet. We had education and a solid, healthy upbringing to help us pull our selves out. But many, many people living in poverty do not have those underlying advantages. As a civilized society, as fellow human beings, we have the responsibility to do everything we can to assist these people, to bring them along with us.
My antagonist’s argument: She’d been through hard times before. She turned her life around. What’s wrong with all those lazy scammers that they can’t do the same? They should just “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” and take some personal responsibility rather than expecting help from taxpayers. There was much more in this vein, but I might vomit on my keyboard if I repeat any more of it.
Honestly, I think the inability to imagine what it’s like to “walk in another’s shoes” is the source of most of the world’s misery.
And FYI, I now put on blinders when I open Facebook. I’m only looking at heartwarming animal videos and updates from friends. Working hard to save my keyboard from a vomit bath.