Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Building a Culture of Empathy with the SF Tea Party
 (Tax Day, April 15th, 2010 in Union Square, San Francisco, California) 

Needless to say, there's a great divide between the different political groups and parties.  What can I do to overcome that divide and build a culture of empathy? Gloria Steinem says,  "Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion" and  "the means are the end." I take that to mean that the way to build a culture of empathy is to use the means of empathy. Analyzing each other doesn't seem to work, judging each other doesn't seem to work, trying to fix each other doesn't seem to work, general one upmanship isn't working. While I get a kick out of, and enjoy those approaches as much as the next person, perhaps it's time to try empathy?  

Being more on the progressive side of the political spectrum, I wanted to reach out to conservatives, libertarians and Republicans. On April 15, Judith and I went to the SF Tea Party that was held in Union Square, in downtown San Francisco. We went to listen, hear and empathize with what the Tea Party members had to say and find out about the role of empathy in their lives. We asked about how empathy fits with their values and for personal stories of having experienced it. After talking to us for quite some time, one of the leaders of the event said with gratitude to Judith, "thanks for listening."  Here's the full version of the event video. (I still want to make a shorter version as well). Our next step will be to bring the different parties together to explore the experience of empathy together.

Building a Culture of Empathy with the SF Tea Party