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My daughter got a shirt this year that never shrunk and now it’s mine. The whale on the shirt declares, “Save the Humans.”

At first I thought of it only as a funny twist on the “save the whales” concept, but I now see a deeper meaning in the phrase. How are we treating the humans we know? How do we treat the humans we don’t know? Do we even care about anyone else in this “all about me” society?

I’m still trying to imagine that kinder, gentler world that doesn’t seem to be happening. I’m tired of living in divisive times—or at least in times where we don’t seem to think it matters to try to walk in other people’s shoes.

Last night, for several minutes I had that buoyant feeling I had when the Berlin Wall came down, that hope that maybe we were going to try to get along.

My respect and admiration for John McCain grew as I heard him say he wanted to work with the other side. For so many years it’s not been considered okay to be a collaborator in Washington, but talking to the other party is one thing John McCain did well that gave him the right to call himself a maverick.

He was trying to tell us that the only way we’re going to get through this mess we’re in now is to unite. I appreciated how agitated he seemed when some of his supporters booed at the mention of the new president.

We need a leader who is uniter, not a divider right now. And I felt that John McCain was committing to leading the political insiders to welcome our new president. He admitted differences still existed but he seemed to think it mattered to be civil to one another and to attempt to work together.

But we, the followers, also have to be uniters. A few minutes after Barack Obama finished speaking, I encountered online hatefulness where it seemed to be acceptable to spout racist terms or declare that the world as we knew it had ended and it was all downhill for our country from now on.

Whether or not you or I agree, we owe it to ourselves to show each other a little empathy, even in our smallest human encounters. Play nice.

Save the humans.

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