Empathy

Jezebel has a post about a Massachusetts politician who defended gay marriage in his state.

He didn’t know his daughter was gay at the time.

“Because, of course, he didn’t know that I was gay then,” the 18-year-old recalls. “So, for someone so publicly to fight for something that doesn’t even affect him was just like, ‘That’s my dad,’ you know?” she says with a laugh. “That’s all I could think. I was very, very proud to be part of this family, and this state in general.”

Now she’s come out and the two remain close.

A politician acted as if someone he loved was affected by a piece of legislation before knowing someone he loved was affected by that legislation.

Refreshing.

You hear about politicians coming to support a policy because they or their family become directly involved: insurance reform, funding for medical research, gun control, and gay rights to name a few.

In a representative democracy, shouldn’t a politician’s singular gift be the ability to empathize with people affected by their policy agendas? People who are not like them? People who are not literally related to them?

If direct experience changes one position, shouldn’t a politician take that to heart and examine if any of their other views suffer from a similar lack of imagination?

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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.