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Culture Jul 4, 2019 2:14 PM EST

Modern tribal politics strips us of our empathy

If we get offline, join forces and get loud. It’s not about Trump. It’s not about AOC. We will figure out an immigration policy another day. Right now it’s about empathy; it’s about doing what’s right; it’s about kids.

Modern tribal politics strips us of our empathy
Jamie Kilstein Montreal, QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

I don’t have a solution to America’s immigration problem. But if I were to make a list of possible ones, holding kids in filthy cages while they cry and scream for help would be very close to the bottom. I’m a pragmatist that way.

Hell, if you pitched that as a solution to any other problem but this, people would call you insane.

“Hey, my kids really acting up in his kindergarten class.”

“Have you tried putting him in a cage?!?!

“Are you fucking insane?”


But this is not an article about immigration policy.

Even if you spent our last election cycle chanting “build that wall,” I don’t care. I’m not judging. I just want you to keep reading.

This article is about our lack of empathy. Our need to be right on Twitter currently trumps what our heart is screaming at us. We live in a world where causalities of a failed immigration system are morphed into talking points. Their humanity stripped from them and then to add insult to injury they get used for political points by some hack on Meet The Press.

I have seen people on Twitter defend putting little kids in cages. I have seen lawyers for the Trump administration say, IN PUBLIC, that kids don’t need soap.

We blame the parents.

“Well what are we supposed to do? Their parents committed a crime.”

I don’t know man, not lock their kids up in fucking cages? If a desperate father robs a liquor store we don’t find his family and send them to jail.

When the punishment is worse than the crime committed we should be ashamed of ourselves.

We don’t put ourselves in peoples shoes anymore. Journalists who are attacked. Kids who are taken. People who are desperate. We just line up to side with our team.

If anyone of our friends, liberal or conservative, told us that the way they got into America was by escaping an impoverished hellscape to make a better life for their children we would rightfully call them a hero. We wouldn’t ask why their kids weren’t in jail.

But because we don’t know the names of the fallen crossing our boarder we treat them as political props and not desperate men and women trying to protect their kids.

I don’t believe we are this evil. But then again I thought pro wrestling was real until I was a teenager.

Every one of us has defended something we know we shouldn’t. We do it because we have become so tribal that we rarely talk to people with different political views.

So if our tribe says fight we fight.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel right, but we still frantically bang out ranting Facebook posts because “liberal uncle Steve called me a racist for voting for Trump so fuck him.”

Social media is conditioning us to see tragedy as opportunity. When there is a school shooting both sides scream at each other to “not make it political” while they do just that.

Tweets like:

Don’t politicize this! And don’t take my guns! #notpolitical


“Republicans are making this political cause THEY ALL WANT KIDS TO DIE. #notpolitical”

Meanwhile children are still lying dead on the floor of their school. The ground where they feared asking their crush to a dance, not being gunned down. The blood hasn’t even dried yet and we shout talking points at each other online without even knowing the names of the deceased.

This is what is happening now.

Both sides are screaming at each other like gossipy parents at a PTA meeting while kids are being tortured.

The left refusing to talk about immigration policy. The right not seeing how we helped cause this crisis. And the ones who suffer aren’t our elite political class, they are the children who should be outside playing in yards they don’t have.

I don’t believe that any parent is okay with this. If you took the most anti-immigration American and put them at a mall, what would they do if a lost child came up to them and asked for help? They would help.

We are not a country of monsters. We are a country that has been taught to act that way.

The rhetoric we use online is so toxic that people have lost their empathy. They have forgotten that real lives are on the line. They would rather prove their point to some random dude on the internet with an bald eagle as his avatar than come up with a solution.

Last week the debate was between AOC and Liz Cheney over the definition of a concentration camp. With all due respect I don’t give a fuck about either of those women while there are kids rotting in fear.

The elites are arguing semantics and word definitions and we all line up behind our chosen figurehead to defend them. Fuck that. How quickly we can make such a serious issue so trite and petty.

Picture your children fearing for their lives on dirty floors that collect blood and tears. I don’t care if you think concentration camp means a place where people go to think really hard. The only debate online from both sides right now should be, how do we rescue these children.

But the right has been pushed into a corner.

They are the “build that wall” side whether they agree or not and the left doesn’t give them a second to say they are not.

So that means if the captain of your team, in this case Trump, wants to put kids in cages, you need to find a way to defend that to own the libs.

When conservatives on the other hand, rightly point out that Kamala Harris reported people to immigration, and that Obama was holding families as well, the left does their best bullshit routine as well.

“When Trump does it it’s evil but Obama, he was like, um, he was like, much cooler about it and was probably dribbling a basketball or smoking a cig or something.”

What both sides should be saying is, “I don’t care who is doing this! It’s fucked up and lets work together to stop it.”

As I write this AOC is tweeting. She has just gotten back from one of the detention centers. I don’t know if what she says is true.

But I care. People who are supposed to hate AOC don’t. They attack her. They discredit her. They don’t say what they should be saying: “I pray this isn’t true.”

If Dick Cheney, Scrooge McDuck, and Mr Burns all said, “Help! Kids are in danger!” I wouldn’t say fuck that lying duck I’m not going.

And this brings us back to professional wrestling. As a kid, my favourite story lines were the ones where the two men who hated each other teamed up to fight a common enemy. They were hesitant at first. They weren’t supposed to be a good team. But they worked together to bring down a bigger evil and the crowd went wild.

It’s sad that while that was fiction, we are stuck in this reality. It’s times like this that history will remember us fondly if we put our differences aside and fight for what’s right.

If we get offline, join forces and get loud. It’s not about Trump. It’s not about AOC. We will figure out an immigration policy another day. Right now it’s about empathy; it’s about doing what’s right; it’s about kids.

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