Empathy: A spoonful of sugar for a GOP win

Background photo courtesy of DonkeyHotay/flickr

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 4, 2015 — The Democratic Party is viewed as being more open, tolerant of others and caring more about the middle class than the Republican Party, according to a Pew Research Center Survey conducted in February 2015.

Though the Republican Party, commonly referred to as the GOP (abbreviation for Grand Old Party), continues to appeal to voters on issues such as the economy, foreign policy, terrorism and taxes, the Democratic Party maintains a slight advantage by appearing to have more direct impact on the individual voter over issues such as abortion, health care and immigration.

“More independents also say the Democratic Party is tolerant and open (58 percent Democratic Party, 40%  percent Republican Party)… according to the Pew Research Center.

America remains highly divided over the complex issue of immigration and what future policies might be best for the country.

Foreign nationals who enter the United States without appropriate U.S. government permission are considered illegal immigrants.

Those nationals who enter the United States with legal permission but continue their stay beyond the termination date are also considered illegal immigrants.

About 40 percent of illegal immigrants enter legally and then overstay, according to Wikipedia.

In 2012 there were 40.7 million foreign-born people living in the United States, according to the Center for American Progress.

The Center for American Progress provides further breakdown of the foreign-born resident status of persons living in the U.S. in 2012:

  • Persons who become naturalized citizens: 18.6 million
  • Non-citizens: 22.1 million
  • Non-citizen residents who had legal permanent status: 13.3 million
  • Non-citizens and who were unauthorized migrants: 11.3 million
  • Non-citizens who were on temporary visas: 1.9 million

The six states that are home to the majority of unauthorized immigrants are California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, according to the Pew Research Center.

Mexicans comprise half of all the unauthorized U.S. immigrants (52 percent).

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, unauthorized Latino immigrants were up to 5.1 percent of the entire U.S. labor force.

Working Latinos purchase clothes, food, cars and homes, and many contribute their fair share of taxes.

Many of the long-term unauthorized immigrants residing in the U.S. have children and grandchildren, who will have economic, social and political impact for generations of Americans to come.

With the current and diverse issues surrounding immigration which is having significant impact on the 2016 political races, it is also a topic on the minds of many Americans.

Most Americans want immigration reform, yet there are differing viewpoints about what that might look like.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart/flickr
Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart/flickr

The GOP has an opportunity to take a significant leadership role in finding solutions impacting the short-term and long-term issues of immigration.

As the Party of Lincoln, it is in an especially unique position.

The thought of deporting millions of immigrants, deporting them back to their country of origin, is unfathomable–especially in a country with such a large population of Latinos.

Bringing those who are living in the U.S. on a long-term basis, contributing to the U.S. economy, especially those with children and family ties would deserve special consideration and assistance-possibly help to achieve a form of permanent legal resident status.

According to a 2014 report by the Center for American Progress, “the median length of residence for unauthorized immigrants…was 13 years…62 percent of undocumented immigrants…for 10 years or longer.”

It would be disingenuous to deport en masse productive unauthorized residents, by whatever mechanism, especially when America has inadvertently enabled this process by not successfully resolving immigration issues for decades, while oftentimes benefiting by their labor, purchases and taxes.

Those who have committed crimes and taken advantage of loopholes in immigration oversight, especially those who are not already rooted in our society, would be ripe for deportation.

Going forward, we need highly protected borders and strong immigration policies and practices to ensure the safety, well-being, public health and economy of our entire country.

For the GOP to better communicate empathy for the plight of those who are currently misplaced would be a step in the right direction, and in line with the historic tradition of the Republican Party itself.

“Empathy is understanding another person’s condition from their perspective…Empathy is known to increase pro-social behaviors,” according to Psychology Today.

In his book, “The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society,” Frans de Waal, biologist and professor of psychology at Living Link at Emory University, proposes that the 2008 global crisis caused a “seismic shift in society…that empathy is the glue that holds human society together.”

According to him in an article in Psychology Today, there are three components to empathy:

  1. Emotional contagion: Emotions which run through a group of people during a dramatic event.
  2. Feeling for others: Empathetic response when we see another’s predicament.
  3. Targeted helping: Ability to feel the way another does.

As the 2016 election process continues, along with a variety of opinions, discourse and debates, the GOP has a rare opportunity to create a timeless bridge with the human building blocks of empathy and principle, uniting all American voters.

“Given the nature of business survival in a competitive world…greed is out and empathy is in,” according to de Waal.

Democracy is on the precipice of great decline at this time in our history, and leadership is highly critical.

Will an individual follow the leader with the greatest technical knowledge or the one who appears to care the most about him?

Research in theories of leadership indicates that people follow those who care about them over a leader with purely technical skill.

The platform of the GOP encourages democracy and free enterprise, based on sound economic principles–add a spoonful of empathy to an already solid platform, then watch the votes come roaring in.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2015 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare