I have perfect vision still, even at the age of 40. My vision is getting worse. I can certainly feel it start to go. But it still registers as perfect, which means that in my youth, my vision was better than perfect. In short, I have eyes like a hawk; which I suppose comes as no surprise, given how many pilots there are in my family.

My perfect vision serves me with a perfect metaphor for the limits of empathy. For, I am surrounded by people with bad vision. My sister is legally blind, my husband's eyes are not horrible, but they are pretty damn bad. Everyone in my nuclear family wore glasses. And yet, in my world, just as the sun rises and sets everyday, blurry vision simply does not exist.

I would (and do) need to force myself to consider the experience of the visually disabled. My default setting does not include this experience. When I begin to imagine myself as visually impaired, it's actually terrifying. The idea that you might wake up practically blind, be unable to find your glasses, and spend the remainder of your day crawling around your home, groping into the void for the mere ability to see, is the stuff of nightmares.

"Out of sight, out of mind," the quintessential tagline for moral disability, comes to mind. It is banal, and because it is so banal, it is inexorably and nauseatingly true. The minute I relax my imagination, and allow my perfect vision to resume its drumbeat march, I forget that all manner of blindness exists, and not just exists in the natural world, but is the window to the world for many people; as if countless homes have frosted glass windows.

To me, this conundrum spells trouble. How can anyone ever hope to act with grace, charity, consideration, and empathy, if it is so utterly impossible to hold another person's experience before the mind's eye (to use another sight metaphor)? How can the limits of empathy be so rudimentary, and unkind?

"Maybe you're just an inconsiderate person," you say. And I agree with you that potentially I am writing about the limits of my empathy, rather than the limits of empathy at large. But I don't think so. And the reason that I don't think so is that I do have a number of disabilities (after all, God gives us all gifts and gauntlets alike), and it's clear to me that other people cannot understand what it's like to be me, even if they make some effort.

Worse yet, the rhetoric of inclusion and neutrality seems to have skidded ahead into some future that looks like a progressive utopia, while the reality of inclusion has moved backwards by decades. As the Supreme Court has declared racism in college admissions to be over, it seems America has dealt with the festering wound of slavery by attempting to jettison it out of a moving vehicle, like an apple core, defenestrated onto the highway shoulder in a cross country road trip.

As the rhetoric around women and girl bosses has reached an apotheosis, women no longer have reproductive freedom and workforce participation is at a historic low. No doubt, the laws written to protect women from discrimination will soon be loosed against them, just like the laws written to elevate the descendants of slaves have been turned against them. It's a disorienting time of peak cognitive dissonance.

I am reminded of the Dave Chapelle skit, in which a blind Black man raised in a rural armpit of the country, grows up to be a vitriolic white supremacist; and his KKK friends don't have the heart to tell him that he's Black. Truly I feel that this is who we are now as Americans, not to ourselves (we are blind to ourselves) but on the world stage. We are stooges, trumpeting values that we not only fail to live up to, but actively trash. It's funny, but also tragic. And everyone can see it but us.