One of the things that has become a consideration in today's conscious is empathy, per Merriam-Webster "The feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions".
This has become very important for certain groups and social movements now: we need to empathize with their historical experiences, see things their way, and then act accordingly.
Certainly history - even our own - is replete with really bad things (continuous breaking of treaties with Native Americans comes to mind, as does slavery in general). That said, it has come into my mind that while this is considered an emotion of merit, it is not universally considered so.
One of the more interesting discoveries I made recently (can we designate it as an epiphany? Maybe we shall) is that I have a heart for those that have lost their jobs. Maybe it is rooted in my own experience, having lost my own and not knowing what the next step is. But I realized I do.
The benefits of beneficial energy are extolled, for example, while the impact to those laid off by them is ignored. The benefits of greater corporate responsibility and higher levels of consumer protection are extolled, but when they result in companies choosing to relocate jobs to areas of less cost and less regulation, they are ignored.
No-one argues (I think) for polluting the environment. No-one argues for irresponsible corporations and low consumer protection. Yet when the outcomes of these policies result in impacts - real impacts - on the lives of people, is it not true that so many of those who demand "empathy" turn away?
I am not a coal miner, nor a oil field roustabout, nor an assembler of industrial equipment. But fellow citizens are. When we hear of companies laying off people or businesses going under, do we react as swiftly as some do about social injustice? Or do we look, perhaps sigh, and then think "well, there is unemployment".
(Note for those who do not know; unemployment does not pay all that well.
Imagine being told - in a region where there may not be a great deal of options for employment - that your job is going away. How will you pay for your family? Your mortgage? Will have to leave your roots and family to find something else? I have - and it is the worst feeling in the world.
But I am fortunate. I work in an industry where I can find work somewhere else if I have to. But millions cannot. Have we no empathy for them as well?
I would suspect that most, if asked, would not list government handouts as their number one desire. Most people - not all, but most - want to work. They want to support themselves. They want to have the dignity and causality of meaningful work in their lives.
It disturbs me very deeply. For if we only engaged in empathy for those causes that we support, we will soon find that that those we live with have become other than ourselves. And if see others as other than ourselves, it becomes all too easy to despise them.