On September 7th 2016, Glenn Beck wrote and op-ed for the New York Times titled “Empathy for Black Lives Matter.”
In his article he attempts to make a comparison between the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Tea Party. He describes the Black Lives Matter Movement as “decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans” who “feel disenfranchised and aggrieved.”
Scrolling through social media or flipping through news stations over the past couple years, Americans have seen what the Black Lives Matter movement stands for. Time after time again this organization has rioted, violently protested, and even burned American Flags.
After seeing this movement in action, calling the Black Lives Matter movement “patriotic” and comparing it to the Tea Party may seem like a far-fetched comparison for many.
What do you think?
Beck’s Op Ed can be seen below, or read Here:
In a recent speech to a group of conservatives, I made what I thought was a relatively uncontroversial point about the commonalities between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter activists. I thought this was a simple idea, but the criticism was immediate and sharp: How dare I try to understand the “other side”?
But as people, wouldn’t we all benefit from trying to empathize with people we disagree with?
I consider myself a “classical liberal” — a.k.a. “constitutional conservative” — and I believe the greatness of our country lies in our founders’ creation of a system that allows and encourages all voices to be heard. The only way for our society to work is for each of us to respect the views of others, and even try to understand and empathize with one another. I have always tried to work toward this goal, even though I have often been guilty of conflating the individual with the whole.
My point about empathy is especially pressing today, since these movements and others — the Tea Party, the Bernie Sanders campaign, Occupy Wall Street — share similar grievances: In their own ways, they say: “I am not being heard,” “I don’t feel like I belong anymore,” “I have no control over my future.” I am not placing all of these movements on the same footing in terms of my personal position, nor am I suggesting that, because I find them to be analogous, they are equal. But there are, in my opinion, strong commonalities, both good and bad.
Each movement is made up of at least three factions: believers, political insiders and instigators. I saw these divides emerge in the Tea Party, where self-serving “leaders” — but really just insiders — tried to take control of the movement to their own benefit. Not surprisingly, we have seen the same thing happen with the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the activists who gathered in Ferguson, Mo. (be it as insiders or as instigators).
I am not looking to condemn, I am looking to understand. For some readers, this may be surprising to hear coming from someone like me. But on my show, I often discuss pivot points. Our opinions or perspectives are not impervious to change — nor should they be. My take on Black Lives Matter has not changed 180 degrees, but it has certainly evolved. Here is my pivot point.
After the horrific shootings of five police officers in Dallas this summer, I had the opportunity to watch an interview with the parents of the gunman by Lawrence Jones, a contributor at The Blaze, of which I am the founder. I was able to see their heartache and sorrow as parents, as Americans and as human beings.
I also saw a lot of hate online. People were shocked that The Blaze portrayed these grieving parents as human beings. It is sad that I feel the need to state the obvious, but my heart bleeds blue for the men and women of our police forces. But what happened in Dallas should be a reminder that we as a nation do not have to riot; we can (and must) come together.
After the massacre, I invited several Black Lives Matter believers on my show. I got to know them as people — on and off air — and invited them back again. These individuals are decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans. We don’t agree on everything, certainly not on politics; but are we not more than politics? I refuse to define each of them based on the worst among them. No movement is monolithic. The individuals I met that day are not “Black Lives Matter”; they are black Americans who feel disenfranchised and aggrieved; they are believers; they are my neighbors and my fellow citizens.
We need to listen to one another, as human beings, and try to understand one another’s pain. Empathy is not acknowledging or conceding that the pain and anger others feel is justified. Empathy is acknowledging someone else’s pain and anger while feeling for them as human beings — even, and maybe especially, when we don’t necessarily agree or understand them.
Again, that’s different from empathizing with self-interested insiders and instigators. Just as I suggest a concerted effort at empathy, we must also stand together to confront the nefarious elements within our movements with equal fervor.
We are a country in trouble, and we have only one way out: reconciliation. We must follow the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message and method and move away from a pursuit of “winning” and toward reclaiming our shared humanity. We cannot reconcile with those who want to tear up the Constitution or those who want blood in the street. But we can and must reconcile of our own free will with our neighbors and friends.
I pray, knowing my words will likely fall on many deaf ears as I am a flawed messenger, that cultivating empathy for one another, in our communities and in the news media, from our politicians and in our politics, is the path we must choose as a nation. If we don’t, what we have seen this year will be just the beginning of the hate we are about to unleash. America, and the world, has one path to “united we stand and divided we fall.” Which path will we take? Which one will you?
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