There are many responsibilities to being an Empathic Rationalist.
You must listen to your voice of reason and honor what you hear.
You must tell the truth – both to others and, just as importantly, to yourself.
You must love the search for wisdom as much or more as the possession of knowledge.
You must open your mind, even when it’s unpleasant to do so.
And that’s just the “Rationalism” part.
As for the other half of the equation, to be an Empathic Rationalist you must be compassionate.
You must never forget when you see someone else who is down on his luck, that the unlucky soul could have been you were it not for the Fates.
You must not harden your heart to the point where you get inured to destruction, death and suffering.
You must keep your heart humble and your hands hospitable.
And that’s just part of what it means to be “Empathic.”
The other part is to rejoice when it’s time to rejoice, such as when your colleagues, your neighbors, or your community is blessed with wonderful news.
Now is definitely a time to rejoice.
It’s a time to celebrate that, one by one, the barons of the South are deciding to move the Stars and Bars out of the State Houses and into the museums, where they can serve as a reminder of our checkered past.
It’s a time to celebrate that, thanks to a Supreme Court decision, millions of Americans who were once cruelly denied healthcare insurance will now be able to keep the insurance that was granted to them by the Affordable Care Act.
It’s a time to celebrate that, thanks to another Supreme Court decision, millions of Americans who were once cruelly denied the right to marry the person they love are now permitted to take advantage of what, for 26 years, has been known to me as the greatest institution on Earth.
To be sure, I don’t want to exaggerate what we have accomplished this week.
Empathic Rationalists are forever aware that there is “always work to be done.”
As Rationalists, we tend not to take literally the idea that there will someday come a Messiah who will usher in an era when the good Lord “will judge among the nations and arbitrate for the many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war.”
While Rationalists like us are in no position to disprove Isaiah’s prophesies, nor can we count on them coming true.
Accordingly, we Empathic Rationalists feel duty bound to work ever so hard to ensure that this is a world of peace, justice and universal dignity.
But this is not a weekend simply to work. This is a weekend also to sit back and rejoice.
Wonderful weeks like this past one don’t come around very often. When they do, we must allow ourselves to smile about them.
Thanks to the events of the past week, in the state houses of all 50 states, the Confederacy shall forever come to be associated with the institution of slavery, which is understood to be an abomination. The opponents of Obamacare will recognize that if they want to improve that law, they can’t do so by stripping away people’s rights to healthcare. And last but not least, there will never again be a time in America where the government will deny the right of two consenting adults to fall in love, make a pact to defeat loneliness, and spend the rest of their lives together – ever supporting one another, ever building a friendship, ever enjoying one another in body as well in mind.
The Empathic Rationalist salutes the forces of progressivism that for years have fought to make this week possible. And the Empathic Rationalist salutes also those forces of conservativism that, grudgingly or not, are allowing our society to enter the 21st century. May we not despair in the fact that progress has been slower than we might have liked it to be. May we simply smile at what we have accomplished and at the fact that more accomplishments are surely in our future.