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Empathy

Is Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s empathy reserved only for those who belong to a race or national origin whose past members were victims of discrimination or abuse, whether or not the individual oneself was a victim? Will she have more empathy for a minority homeowner facing eviction because of loan defaults than she would for a white homeowner facing eviction because of loan defaults? Or empathy for a white victim of violent crime as much as for a minority victim? Or as much empathy for a white male being harassed by police as for a minority?

Will Sotomayor have as much empathy for people in Arizona who are victims of the increasingly rampant violent crimes brought about by the invasion of Mexican drug gangs, as much as she might have for “illegal immigrants” of Mexican or other Latin American origin?

In Massachusetts, because of the unwillingness of Gov. Deval Patrick and state legislators to cut excess offices and jobs created by the Patrick Administration and get rid of the criminal double-dipping and triple-dipping of state pensions, we now have more state and local police than ever before, out there catching motorists in speed traps and handing out otherwise tickets for the sole purpose of revenue collection. Where is the empathy for average citizens who are just trying to make an honest living and going about their business only to get harassed and robbed like this? It was the same kind of arrogance with state bureaucrats and police during the 1980s under Gov. Michael Stanley Dukakis who was busy running for president and just slightly out of touch with things. Then we had Gov. Willard Mitt Romney, himself busy running for president, and because he had so much empathy for people without health insurance,  he had to push through his Mandatory Health Insurance Law–”You must, MUST have health insurance,” he said in his bill-signing speech that day, with his detectable Locust Valley Lockjaw accent. (He repeated the word, “must.”) His empathy certainly wasn’t available for the many residents and businesses who wanted to opt out of the program, and many of whom had fled or will flee the state. What business is it of the government whether someone has health insurance? How will it be enforced? If someone doesn’t participate, fine them. What if they don’t pay the fine? Jail them. With more and more police. Wait, they’re still busy collecting taxes on the highways.

The purpose of the police is not to act as zealous tax collectors, but to prevent actual crimes, by…”policing” the streets. That’s why they’re called that. My empathy is for victims of crimes, Black or White, Hispanic or Asian, and for victims of police and state intrusions. I really hope we’ll get an equal distribution of empathy from a Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

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