Acute Decency vs. Empathy


On a recent episode of Pod Save America, John Lovett refers to the outpouring of compassion and solidarity for Houston as "acute decency."

See more inspiring examples of decency here.

Here's the transcript from the August 28 episode, You can't be a woke Hungarian fascist:

VIETOR: "I'm going to be cheesy for one second, but it is also a reminder of how decent people in this country are. When we see people driving to Houston with their boats to put them in the water to drive around rescuing people. When you see news crews like flagging down rescue crews to save peoples' lives, I mean, you know, I'm being corny & cheesy"

Cross talk

FAVREAU: "The Coast Guard has rescued 140,000 people so far. Houston police have completed 2,000 rescue missions. National Guard is out there, neighbors, reporters saving people's lives, I mean, it is, look, we need these reminders right now"

LOVETT: "But also, yes, what I was also thinking about too was that's acute decency. We're very good at acute decency, and it's, and climate change requires a different kind of decency, a different kind of imaginative decency of what it means to care, and like-" 

Cross talk

LOVETT: "When someone's stranded on a roof, when water's rising in a car, you know, compassion kicks in, and our humanity kicks in, and our decency kicks in, and we have this fundamental challege that we are not built to have have a more expansive version of compassion."

Listen to the entire episode here.

Your Thoughts First

We want to know your thoughts about the kind of decency that inspires people to heroic action in the acute moments following times of tragedy versus the kind of compassion that would be required to see long-term transformation in how we relate to and care for one another in sustained, everyday, and even less heroic moments. 

Fill out this anonymous survey if you feel like reflecting and sharing with us!