I Feel Your Pain…

I am struck by the sheer numbers of bad situations going on around me and us. Shootings, wars, the pandemic, debt ceilings, poverty…shall I go on? Most of these I view from afar. I feel bad about the Ukraine but I don’t live there. Can I really relate to my apartment being blown to smithereens? Not in any way. 

I can enumerate at least a hundred things that are really crappy happening to my fellow American and yes all those other 8 billion earthlings out there. I am really at sea as to whether I should even give these a thought  or just go on with my blissful life in Flalaland. I tend to be a sentimental or even an empathetic lug. Why? Let me try to explain. 

Empathy is understanding and experiencing emotions from the perspective of another, a partial blurring of lines between self and other. We put ourselves in the shoes of others with the intention of understanding what they are going through, we employ empathy to make sense of their experiences. (Psychology Today)

There are a couple of characteristics. If the victim is a relative or close friend we are all over it. We rush to their aid in any way. If they are in our town or burgh we still feel a closeness. The farther away and the bigger the numbers we tend to look and quickly forget. 

We are tribal. We protect our own. We also have a feeling of helplessness. I recently did a presentation here on Worldwide Famine. There are 39 million food insecure people in these United States. That is around 8% of our population. There are 830 million of the same throughout the world. Nice, TTG but what the hell can I do? If I show you one kid who is on the verge of death you want to reach out. If there are 5,000 you say that is sad but nothing I can do. 

We actually become numb to situations. People knew about the Holocaust but looked away. Because they were insensitive brutes or because there was nothing they could do about it? Really interesting and complex question. If you are a Jew and more specifically a European Jew you scream for the world to do something. If you are not can you still look the other way? Yikes TTG, what are you asking me that for?

Enter media for better or worse. It has been proven that people that obsess about a tragedy by watching  the outcomes over and over again, becoming so involved that it affects their lives. Other have a cursory glance and dismiss it for some predefined reason. It might be cultural, racial or ideological. Those people are illegal. George Floyd was high on something. January 6th was inevitable. Trump had some really good policies. There is rationalization on both sides. 

I think we are sometimes afraid of our feelings. We set up that wall. This is what I believe and have always believed. It has gotten me this far and I am sticking with it. Yet something breaks through our veneer. My cool exterior says that is not right. It is a picture or word or a situation from which we can’t disengage. It is unique and unsettling. Maybe we are being human. Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone. 

Somewhere in our brains there is this thought that could happen to me. If I get involved too much then I have a responsibility for that situation or person. Too many years ago in NYC, I happened upon a poor soul at the base of a staircase in the World Trade Center leading to the PATH to go home to New Jersey. He had slit his wrists and person after person just walked on by. I had to stop. I had to help. Not as hero but as a fellow human being. After I wrapped a handkerchief around his wrists and got a cop, I continued on. Was our world this bad? Are we that insensitive and uncaring? I am not sure. I fear it has only gotten worse.

If I only can feel for people close to me we are getting further and father away. Cities are getting bigger as people abandon rural America. We build higher skyscrapers and higher fences. Yet there is the rotting underbelly of poverty and homelessness. Yes, there are bums and nee’r do wells out there but there are also decent people who just want a life. 

As part of my research for famine I looked locally. In our nice part of the world there are over 50% of our kids on a free lunch and breakfast program. I called one of the  school district’s food program managers to question the veracity of the qualifications. She said we have no idea of the poverty, right here in River City. A family of four at $26,172 income is at or below poverty level. If you are a bus driver for the district you make $15 per hour which comes to $31,200 per year. Their kids go to those schools. There is not enough to buy food after all other expenses. Never thought of it that way. 

A fellow who attended my lecture said, “Ted if you keep this up you are going to become a left wing extremist.” I thought about the comment and did not in any way resent it. I was dumb enough to do my research and look beneath the covers. I wanted to dispel the concept of food insecurity at least in these United States. Numbers bore and sometimes numb people. I get that. But numbers don’t lie. I always take a number like 39 million food insecure and reduce it by a third or a half. It is still a really big number. 

I can probably never feel the pain of my fellow planet dwellers. But it sure has got me thinking. I hope it got you too. 

As always 

Ted The great 


Globally 3.9% of all children die before reaching the age of five, which means that on average 15,000 children die every day.

As a nation we spend $13,187 per student per annum

Florida $10k

NY $25k

AZ $8.7

In 2022, proficiency in math for eighth graders was 26.5%.Proficiency in reading in 8th grade was 32%

There were 44,000 firearm deaths in 2021. 24,000 suicides 20,000 homicides.   That’a lot of pain. 

A family threw a six figure birthday party for a one year old in Washington DC. Isn’t that painful ?

Members of Congress have their own healthcare and retirement system as opposed ot Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security

How much pain do you think they feel?

Sorry, if you did not feel any pain in my factoids



2 thoughts on “I Feel Your Pain…

  1. Good morning, Ted.

    Members of congress do not have them own retirement and healthcare system. They are under the FERS retirement as are all federal employees. Their healthcare is more complicated and less than federal employees because they took themselves out of Obamacare.

    Sent from my iPad

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