Columnists, Election 2016, Here's That Rainy Day, Opinion

Retain empathy after divisive year

The rhetoric that has surfaced over the course of the 2016 presidential race, primarily due to the vile, widely incoherent assertions made by Republican nominee Donald Trump, has integrated seamlessly into national discourse. The effects of his language can be seen within our communities everyday, in the form of third graders threatening their non-white classmates with deportation, lynched dummies hanging from trees as Halloween decorations in Miami-Dade and an unprecedented rise in hate crimes against Muslim Americans.

Similar to Barry Goldwater’s 1964 speech, in which he famously said, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice…moderation in the defense of liberty is no virtue,” Trump’s language manipulates and prioritizes the fear and insecurity that belies the promise of the American dream. But Trump’s words command a dismissal of intelligent forethought that is toxic to critical decision making and alienates any possibility of compromise.

But every sweeping trend will be accompanied by a countertrend – a reaction to and rejection of prominent attitudes. The sexual and moral rigidity of the 1950s, the struggle of black Americans to obtain equal rights and the War in Vietnam gave way to a youth-driven hippie subculture that preached love, not war and tolerance, not fear-based segmentation. There may not be another Summer of Love, but the ways we practice empathy in this particularly divisive time need reevaluation.

One effective, yet often overlooked way of influencing one’s community is becoming involved in local government. Getting to know your city counselors, writing to your mayor and voting on regional and state ballot measures make tangible differences in the lives of you, your family and your neighbors. Now is the time to debunk the notion that voting is a lukewarm nod to a broken system of democracy and realize the full potential of human connection within the framework of local, state and federal government.

David Brooks writes in his article “The Power of a Dinner Table” about Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson, a Washington D.C. couple who started a Thursday evening ritual of hosting teenagers affected by modern poverty. What began as invitations to some of their son’s friends grew into weekly dinners of over 15 people strong. Together, they break bread, clear the table and share stories about lives far removed from Kathy and David’s own experiences.

“They give us a gift,” Brooks writes of the couple. “Complete intolerance of social distance.” In this election, characterized by erroneous, antagonistic sentiments, it’s important to remember the power that generosity has to dissolve scathing anger and division between communities.

Mackenzie Karbon is a sophomore majoring in jazz performance. Here’s That Rainy Day, runs the first Thursday of each month.

November 2, 2016

Reporters

Mackenzie Karbon


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

Miami senior Tyler Gauthier was named to the 2018 Fall Watch List for the Rimington Trophy presented ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.