Sympathy and Empathy in the Time of Coronavirus

A sign thanking health care workers near an emergency triage tent at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., March 29, 2020. (Jason Redmond/Reuters)
If we hope to get through this crisis, we must start by bridging the political divides to which we are all far too attached.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A merican civil society long ago lost any illusion of being “civil.” Hostile, unproductive, tribal partisanship infects every debate in this country — and it has only been compounded by the devastating arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I wrote several years ago about how the nasty tenor of our political debates was undermining our ability to relate to others, especially those who think and vote differently than we do. It’s not surprising that this problem has been exacerbated by the present pandemic. But where in normal times, tribal animosity and distrust coarsen our culture, in the coronavirus crisis they could literally kill


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