Thank you to Edwin Rutsch who left a comment on this blog about his Culture of Empathy.org website and documentary project. His website contains a historical record of President Obama’s interviews and speeches about the importance of empathy.
2004-11-23 – Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: Charlie Rose Show
In a 2004 interview with Charlie Rose when asked what was the empathy deficit, Barack Obama said:
“[The empathy deficit is] The inability of people to stand in other folk’s shoes.”
“It’s hard work to understand people who are not like you. It’s hard work to empathize with people who have different experiences and values than you.” “But the hard work is worth it.”
“Under the surface people care about the same hopes, the same dreams.
“Ultimately that will be our salvation. That’s going to be how we’re going to be able to live in this increasingly complex fast paced and diverse world.”
Here are some You-Tube videos of passionate speeches of President Barack Obama beginning in 2004 to the present where he explains that all people need to use their imaginations to work hard to put themselves in other people’s shoes.
2008-01-20 – Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: King Day at Ebenezer Baptist Church
President Barack Obama on 2008-01-20 said at the Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Ebenezer Baptist Church:
“In the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.”
“We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in 10 minutes than workers are making in an entire year.”
Will President Obama and Democrats help close the empathy deficit as we go into the New Year of 2011?
What would it take to close the empathy deficit? Is the empathy deficit the reason that tax cuts for the richest 1-2% of Americans are being extended 2 years while unemployment benefits are extended for only 1 year?