Jonathan Haidt was interviewed on the video podcast Ted Talks, where the conversation was centered in the division going on in America today. He mentions many causes of this historical division like growing immigration, race and diversity. He also goes on to add what might be the reasons behind this divide in immigration and race for example the problem might not be race but cultural differences. Jonathan brings up the impact social media has had with the divide as well as feeding it. A big division that he brings up is the division between the two political parties. He mentions how we use to have conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, but now it’s deeply divided and he underlines this problem with him saying, “now we don’t even want our children marrying them “. He believes that something we can try to do in order to help the divide is a new kind of empathy to help not see each other as enemies.
Jonathan Haidt’s theory of us practicing a different type of empathy is extremely useful because it sheds a light on the difficult problem of us not trying to understand the opposites view. We think that we are right and if the other person doesn’t agree well then they don’t understand or they are ignorant. In some cases that may be true but the point I’m getting at is why don’t we try to explain our view or try to understand their view? I know I have been guilty of this, I lose my patience and the conversation turns into an argument. Jonathan even makes a suggestion to go and find someone with different views and have a conversation.
This empathy that Jonathan Haidt mentions could not only be for us the American citizens but for our leaders also. So when our president wants to fix an immigration problem with building a wall, it shows his lack of empathy. I come from a family of Mexican immigrants and I understand first hand what heartache it was for them to leave their family, friends, and home. My father has always had the utmost respect for the United States I always remember this quote, when now president Trump said Mexicans were rapist and murders, he said this country is borrowed to him and he would never ruin something that is borrowed, you just give thanks. If president Trump would really put himself in their shoes for a bit then maybe he would have insisted on that meeting with Mexico’s president so they could work together on a plan. The Mexican citizens would love to stay in there home so why not help our neighbors and in the process help us too. The Muslim ban is also a great example where he shows no empathy. This just comes down to what is the humane thing to do. When you know people in other countries being tortured and killed by their own people it’s our job to help. In the podcast This American Life they had an episode named, It’s Working Out Very Nicely, where you can hear at a transit center for refugees in Kenya a person describing to about 40 Somalis that had been approved to come in a couple of days after the ban order, they were not going to be coming to the US. Some of these people had been refuges for more than 20 years. Imagine that, you’re waiting to be accepted to America as a refugee for more than 20 years and just about when you could almost see it they said no, that American president put in an order banning 7 countries and that included you. I’ll show president Trump some empathy and say maybe he has a logical reason he thinks it’s threatening to the United States to accept refugees or maybe he thought he knew what he was doing but it turned out it wasn’t what he had expected. He can help us understand the reasoning behind his orders in a professional and informative way or apologize and throw the order out.
I agree with Jonathan that the political party is a major division going on today. They see each other as the enemies, like Jonathan mentions in the video. We know that they are not going to agree on everything but for our members in congress to not even be able to sit together and come up with a compromise is alarming. Quoting Jonathan with the way we feel about someone that has opposite views “were more likely to not just say they’re wrong or we don’t like them but we say they’re evil they’re satanic they’re disgusting they’re revolting and then we want nothing to do with them and that’s why we’re seeing this for example on campus now we’re seeing the urge to keep people off campus” this is a perfect quote to what happened in UC Berkeley. When Milo Yiannopoulos was going to make an appearance and speak and was rioted against by angry students. They don’t have to agree with his views but they shouldn’t stay in the way of people that do want to hear from the British journalist. Then president Trump tweeting a response to this issue implying he might pull federal funding because of this incident, is not any better. Who’s right? Who won? Let Milo Yiannopoulos go and speak, you don’t agree with the view then don’t attend. President Trump could have expressed his concern but why threaten to pull funding from students that are important for America’s future. This is without a doubt an example where empathy could have gone a long way and the division is quite evident.
Jonathan Haidt mentioned in the podcast video “Can a divided America heal?” there is an apocalyptic feeling with this division and I completely agree. It’s frightening to the future of America. Maybe if we could get away from the Republican and Democratic titles we could see that we are not that different. This country was funded with people that believed in the right of the citizens. We Americans should stand together and unite. Let’s respect other point of views and learn to apologize when we’re wrong. If you realize your friend is imposing false information it is up to you to teach them and direct to them to the credible source. Learn from our neighbors with opposite views and get to know them and keep an open mind so you could learn also. Jonathan Haidt states in the video, you might see you’re not that different. This political division should unite us, the American citizens, more than ever because the Republicans and Democrats in the house represent us and they are making decisions that are fundamental to our future. They need to remember the idea this country was founded on, it’s the government for the people not the other way around.
Can a divided America heal? Jonathan Haidt –Ted Talks video podcast Nov 8, 2016
It’s working out very Nicely-This American Life podcast Feb 3, 2017