Singer/poet Amanda Palmer isn’t backing away from feeling empathy for the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Palmer posted a new, stream of conscious essay describing the fallout from her poem,
every time something terrible has happened in america, in the past dozen or so years, i’ve felt a shift towards fear.
and when you feel the fear, you have many choices.
you can take the fear and turn it into hatred, anger and negativity (WHO CAN I BLAME RIGHT NOW? HOW CAN I HURT THEM? WHERE CAN I HIDE? and WHO CAN I HIDE WITH?)
you can take the fear, unravel it, and try to turn it into deeper questions (WHY DID THIS HAPPEN? HOW CAN I UNDERSTAND? and WHERE ARE WE FAILING EACH OTHER?)….
Later, Palmer suggests those who can’t feel empathy for the bombing suspects are held back by their own prejudices:
the moment you choose to be empathetic only towards your family, only towards your friends, only towards your immediate neighbors, only the people who look like you, or think like you…
that is the moment you fail to see that we are all connected, that we are all capable of feeling pain and all – every one of us – capable of empathy.
The unanswered question here is obvious. Would Palmer have written the very same poem had the bombing suspects been white Tea Party members, as a few folks in the media suggested early in the investigation? Would her empathy toward those who disagree with her point of view remain steadfast, or would it whither away?