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So, Why Don’t the Rats in Congress Care?

A LITTLE EMPATHY PLEASE - These are partisan and bitter political times in America. Our country has become so angry and divided that the Tea Party and the Occupiers couldn’t find common ground if it jumped up and bit  ‘em in the ass.

Most in Washington think bipartisan is a dirty word and the others couldn’t tell you what the word means if they had a dictionary implanted in their foreheads.

The 99% want jobs and blame the 1% and the 1% refuse to create jobs just to get even.

We’re pepper spraying our kids on our campuses for wanting desperately to learn … just like we warned them to do so they wouldn’t become failures.

It is so ugly that even among the Republican presidential candidates no one can stay atop the polls for more than 15 minutes before his own kind draw and quarter him … her … into oblivion.

Pondering this stuff can sour a mood pretty quickly and that is where I was when I ran into this little piece of sunshine from the Chicago Tribune service.

Seems a University of Chicago experiment to determine how much empathy rats have for one another produced some surprising results.

The Trib piece reports that “in laboratory studies, a rat was restrained in a small cage that could be opened only from the outside. A second rat, seeing its predicament began tirelessly trying to find a way to free it.

“Eventually, the second rat taught itself to open the cage door, freeing the restrained rat, leading to what strongly resembled a triumphant celebration between the two.”

“Even when faced with an alternative choice of chocolate chips,” the report said, “the free rat would not be deterred from helping its caged colleague.”

This got me to thinking. If a lab rat could be empathetic and caring enough to work at freeing a compatriot from a cage, why can’t the folks in Washington take an empathy pill or two and free Americans from the self-interest and partisanship cage in which they’re currently restrained?

Or, put another way: if a lab rat cares, why don’t the rats in Congress care?

I’ve asked the folks at the University of Chicago to run another rat test.

(Ken Draper is the editor of CityWatch. He can be reached at editor@ -cw

Tags: rats, rat study, University of Chicago, Washington DC, Congress, politics, greed, partisan politics, empathy, Ken Draper

Vol 9 Issue 100
Pub: Dec 16, 2011