Empathy Across Ideologies

Adam Jamieson

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While the Women’s March on Washington was mostly represented by one sociopolitical identity pertaining to women’s rights and social equality, there were several other subcategories of thinkers present, including those with ideals in direct opposition to the march.

The march was jam packed, but at its center lay a strange sight. Counter-protestors in military style clothing held signs condemning homosexuals, but seemed to be led through the crowd by a young shirtless man who danced fluidly while waving a rainbow flag. 

“Scripture warns us against the sins of gays and lesbians,” said Adam, a born-again-Christian from South Carolina who chose not to vote in the election, “Planned Parenthood is against the bible. They murder babies.” 

The crowd’s reaction to Adam and his associates was overwhelmingly negative. Their passage through the mass of humans was frequently met by middle finger salutes and obscenities. The verbal assaults matched the vitriolic rhetoric of the counter-protestors’ signs, and the opposition prevented the two groups from participating in a reasoned discussion. 

“I was saved, man,” Adam explained, “I was a sinner. I was addicted to pornography. I lusted after women. I was addicted to marijuana. I was selling drugs. I had multiple felonies. I had heart failure and I should have died. But God saved me. I feared I was going to hell and I should have died, but God saved me.” 

As he walked and talked, a family of protestors, one of whom was wearing a hijab, stopped to take a photo, blocking his path. He looked at them, stopped, smiled, and calmly walked around them before continuing to speak. Their photo was not ruined. 

“I don’t think any of these people are bad people,” he said. “I know everybody is just here to stand up for what they think is right, and that’s what I’m doing too. Our ideas just don’t agree with each other. Empathy? Yeah, empathy is what I feel for them.”

Yet another middle finger flashed through the air and somewhere a voice exclaimed “Jesus was a liberal you dumb*sses!”

“If Jesus was alive today he would be a conservative. He would be the most conservative. He never lusted after women and I would say that that is a very conservative ideal,” Adam said.

When asked if he still lusts after women, Adam said “No. I used to be addicted to pornography and I was overwhelmed by lust, but I’ve since been saved and now I have freed myself from that worldly burden. I’m no longer concerned with this world, but preparing myself to live in heaven.”