In her speech for the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17, the former First Lady implored the American people to practice “empathy” in their day-to-day lives, especially as the coronavirus pandemic wages on. She explained that in recent weeks, she’s been thinking a lot about the term and the importance of recognizing “that someone else’s experience has value, too.”
“Most of us practice this without a second thought. If we see someone suffering or struggling, we don’t stand in judgment. We reach out because, ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’ It is not a hard concept to grasp. It’s what we teach our children,” she said, adding that she and former President Barack Obama sought to teach their daughters this same lesson.
However, Michelle said that she feels like the United States has become an example of what happens when “we stop requiring empathy of one another.”
“They see people shouting in grocery stores, unwilling to wear a mask to keep us all safe. They see people calling the police on folks minding their own business just because of the color of their skin. They see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here, that greed is good and winning is everything because as long as you come out on top, it doesn’t matter what happens to everyone else. And they see what happens when that lack of empathy is ginned up into outright disdain,” she listed. “They see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists. They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protestors for a photo-op.”