News & Politics

Clash Erupts Inside Berkeley 'Empathy Tent'

A cropped shot of a woman holding a loved one's hand in support

It’s impossible to parody the left these days.

For example, the University of California-Berkeley has created an “empathy tent,” as the campus continues to be inundated with protests. Even more hysterically, a fight broke out in the aforementioned “empathy tent.”

So much for empathy. Members of opposing political groups clashed Tuesday inside a so-called “empathy tent” on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

At least four people were arrested, police said.

The empathy tent was reportedly in place to offer protesters a calm place to unwind amid the choas around them. But the tent ultimately offered little respite — and nearly toppled during clashes between conservative students and leftist activists, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“It’s tough, but we do what we can to foster dialogue,” said Edwin Fulch, who reportedly used the tent for talks about the virtues of meditation and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Yes, it’s hilarious and a bit ironic that this happened. Unfortunately, it’s also indicative of the nature of political discourse these days.

Politics has moved from “the art of the possible” to being a bloodsport. The desire to compromise is dead, killed by constituencies that view compromise as surrender, where even the mere hint that you might be willing to work with the other side gets you targeted by your own party.

What happened in that “empathy tent” was someone who wanted both sides to sit down and talk found out that at least one side wasn’t interested. Yes, it sounds like it came from a Mel Brooks movie. I do know that such things are going to happen more and more often unless people  take a step back and recognize that our system doesn’t work when people act like this. Instead, it simply bogs down.

While I tend to prefer gridlock to senseless legislation that only makes our lives more complicated, I also know that gridlock isn’t anyone’s ideal way of governing. Add laws, repeal them, whatever. We need active discussion and effort for anything positive to happen.

We don’t need “empathy tents.” We need some grownups who are willing to recognize that not everyone who opposes you is evil.