Here's the thing. First, I'm in agreement with the overall gist of your article, like 98 percent of it.

The 2 percent? Certainly not excusing spitting on counters or coughing on people.

No, it's more like this: I am an expat Yank who has lived in Japan in 2004. As I've reflected over the years why I chose to stay here, buy a house and raise a family, it comes down to one word: empathy.

Japanese are not perfect, by any means, but I see the biggest lack in America is around empathy.

So, how does that make the article miss the mark? Well, I think ALL Americans are scared right now; facing real life-and-death, existential issues. And while I personally hate wearing masks and recognize they do decrease an important sense of human connection , I've come around to understanding they are necessary.

That said, the response by the U.S. government in terms of helping people through the crisis materially has greatly excerbated many of the feelings people have (on all sides of the issue). If you've lost your job, you can't get a new one, you still have to pay your bills and the $1,200 is gone, can you see how you might find it a bit annoying when others are telling you to wear a mask for the safety of others? What about my safety, you might wonder? No one seems to care about that!

Anyway, perhaps I'm failing to convey how I, as a writer of fiction, try to understand the feelings people have. I know times are super charged and very divisive in the U.S. so that has made empathize with "the other side" even harder.

Ultimately, I see this decade as something of a battle for the HEART of America. I'd actually intended to come to the U.S. this year and do a cross-country train trip and the main question I was seeking to answer was: Can Americans love each other, in spite of their differences?

It gets harder when people act like total jerkwads, I totally get that, ha ha, but maybe after one's reactivity to their behavior has dwindled, one can spend time pondering, "Why is that person feeling that way?" I'd suggest that to say simply "they are selfish" misses the fact that, in a social structure which doesn't care about you as an individual, to be selfish is a matter of survival. Anyway, this is way too long for a response, but clearly this are tough issues to work out and require lots of thought and feeling to get there. I've done my best.

A Serious Fool who writes about: Personal/collective growth, politics, love of Nature/Humanity, Japan, podcasting, humor, and being a hippie in Service to Life.

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