Yesterday, God reminded me to be grateful we live in America

Yesterday, I was reminded that for all of the problems we have in our country, and for how awful our presidential candidates are…we still live in America.

This video pretty much did me in. It shows a rescue worker sobbing over the body of an infant he and others rescued from bombing rubble in Syria:

Transcript, via ABC:

In an emotional video, the rescue worker cries as he embraces the baby. He says in the video that the baby had been under the rubble for about two hours but didn’t have any wounds.

“Oh God, oh God,” he says between sobs in a video released by the Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, a group of unarmed, nonpartisan rescue workers in Syria.

“Thank God, she doesn’t have one wound, no wounds at all,” the rescue worker says in the video. “Thank God. When I carried her I felt like she was my daughter. The guys and I, the team that worked with me, we were three or four who took her out and then I carried her on my own and brought her to the hospital. I felt like she was my daughter. I hugged her tight. She moved me deeply.”

Before I was a full-time media professional, I used to follow international news quite closely, and from a wide variety of sources across the political spectrum. That had to change in 2012, as full-time blogging and then reporting became so mentally tiring, between reading news and then writing about it, that just following domestic news became a chore. Additionally, foreign policy is often far more complex than domestic policy, and as a libertarian-leaning conservative, I tend to question whether the U.S. should throw our military into every problem.

This video, however, reminded me of a part of the truth I had forgotten about: it’s simply damn hard to remain objective when faced with this kind of suffering and emotions, even just through a video. I’ve sort of anesthetized myself by paying attention where I think I can make more of a difference — but even domestically, I avoid videos of service members crying when seeing family or pets when returning from Afghanistan and Iraq in order to protect myself from getting too emotional. The same is true of some of the lengthier videos showing police treating blacks in despicably abusive ways.

I’m often told that I come across as cold and clinical — not just because I’m a conservative, but because I try to separate emotions from logic when looking at policy and politics. And even in my personal life, or when friends ask for advice, I account for emotions in a manner that can be very precise…but also sometimes insensitive to others, or simply surprising to people in its bluntness.

I didn’t intend for this post to be so Dustin-centric; it was supposed to be about the suffering of Syrians, millions of whom have been displaced and hundreds of thousands who have been killed. Though in keeping with who I am — to be brutally clinical — abortion in America kills more than twice as many people each year as are estimated to have died in five years of conflict in Syria. So it’s fine and just to focus on stopping abortion domestically instead of worrying about distant Syria.

But God reminded me yesterday that while separating myself emotionally is sometimes necessary, I’m more than just a reporter. I’m also a person, and like everyone else a child of God. That’s critically important.

Yes, even more important than the farce of an election that’s in front of us. May we just be grateful we live here, where complaining about elections is the norm, not being bombed to smithereens in a nation where saving a child from rubble is the rare positive exception.

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Dustin Siggins

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