Empathy is the KeyISBN: 978-1-4389-3325-2
Contrary to cursory impression, America is far from healed from her civil war. The essays in Empathy if the Key: Towards a Civil War Healing attempt to throw light on why this is so and on how critical the capacity to be empathic will be if full healing is ever to be reached. 192 pages.
from the Preface
Contrary to cursory impression, America is far from healed from her civil war. The essays in Empathy is the Key attempt to throw light on why this is so and on how critical the capacity to be empathic will be if full healing is ever to be reached. The first of these essays, epitomizing the spirit of all that is to follow, deals with the two most towering figures to emerge from America's fratricidal war, Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. That one is usually elevated far above the other, that they are seldom admired together, hints at how far we have yet to travel. The more we can feel our way into the lives of those "on the other side," whether considered alien or enemy--the more, in other words, we can see things from their point of view, walk a mile in their shoes--the less we will be inclined to judge them harshly. We may even come to accord them if not full understanding as least genuine respect.
When respect in the North is accorded not only Robert E. Lee but the likes of Stonewall Jackson and even Nathan Bedford Forrest, or in the South not only Abraham Lincoln but men like Ulysses Grant and even John Brown, or in North as well as South a Grant far transcending "butcher" and drunkard," or in the South its own scapegoated James Longstreet and Virginia patriots like Winfield Scott choosing to honor oath to country before allegiance to home state, or in North as well as South both Mosby's Confederacy and the Underground Railroad--when such respect is accorded, healing worthy of the name will then have a chance.
It should not be too bold a dream that respect too be accorded abolitionists, long in the shadows, who, recognizing the momentous injustice of slavery for what it was, laid their lives on the line, against odds it takes empathy to imagine, to shake awake a beloved but slumbering nation to its founding ideals.