No Empathy, No Normal

I took First Reader off to a nearby town to get her second Moderna vaccination. We’re hoping for mild side effects. The first one left her arm sore for about three days, some temporary lethargy, but otherwise not much. My second was back in March, so in theory I’m good. In practice? I’m thinking Covid-Resistant but not Covid-immune. I expect to be wearing a mask when I’m out and about for the foreseeable future.

It’s not such a big deal for a lot of reasons. It’s inconvenient, but compared to dying with your lungs full of jelly or causing someone else to do so? I’ll wear the mask, thanks. I’ve heard all the reasons for not wearing a mask. With extremely few exceptions, they’re BS of the first water. Worse, they’re selfish, and usually expressed in terms of “I’ll be fine” as if that’s the only thing in the world that matters.  The whole point about living in a civilization is that it’s not “everyone for themselves,” and to do that right, it takes a little bit of empathy.

Empathy is apparently a rare trait among large populations of my fellow Americans these days. Not sure why. Maybe it was always this way and I’m just being naïve, but the fact is undeniable. I remember the recent case of the Fox News Personality who said he’d always been against paid parental leave, thought it was nonsense…until he fathered a child. Suddenly it wasn’t nonsense anymore, but a darn good idea. Which, whether he realized it or not, illustrates a complete lack of empathy.  We’ve all heard the variants: “If it doesn’t happen to me, it doesn’t happen” or “If I don’t need it, no one does.” Whether the problem is an unwillingness to place yourself in someone else’s shoes for a bit, or a lack of capacity to do so, the result is the same. I imagine future dissertations and peer-reviewed research on the subject. Maybe someone will sort it out in the future, but the rest of us must live with the consequences for now.

Or at least try to.