January 1, 2020

Us and Them

Pink Floyd had a song back in 1973 called Us and Them. It's become pretty much everything in politics these days, or more likely, it's always been everything in politics.  More generally, it was a song about war and human nature.  Individually we like to think we would be fair to people who are different from us, and would treat them nicely.  But as a group we end up going to war because it's us or them.  That's a fairly superficial take on the song but the essence of it is there to make my point.

It's inevitable that humanity groups itself into like tribes.  There are too many people in the world and in early human history we were too scattered to do otherwise. It's what led to the existence of nations.  On a smaller level, it's what led to guilds based on skills, it's what led to political philosophies.  It also led to ethnic identification. 

There are positives and negatives to the concept of Us.  It allows for collaboration and collective interests being worked on with a synergistic effect (two heads are better than one).  On the other hand, if there's an Us, there has to be a Them.  Those two don't have to be in conflict but so often they end up that way. One of the big reasons for that is that some people can take advantage of the Us by demonizing the Them.

It has had unfathomable consequences in human history, with some prime examples being Nazi Germany and later the Cold War.  But it has also bled into politics.  Democrats have fostered group identity over individual identity in order to harvest voter groups that they can exert sole 'ownership'. It's become dangerous in that conservatives and Trump supporters especially, have been vilified to such an extent that left leaning voters think of them as evil and are therefore in some minds granted permission to demean them, harm them or worse. 

As conservatives we are not immune to making this mistake.  Granted we are less likely to exhibit hatred of individuals and more of ideas. But we are not immune.  When we want immigration enforcement it can be perceived as an Us and Them worldview. It isn't racial (at least for most conservatives, though some are susceptible to that notion).  It does get perceived as racial, thereby fueling the Us and Them view of Us by the Them.  Wanting the rule of law has somehow become racist. That's an insane outcome of the Us and Them views fostered by the left.

Heck, this post is itself calling out us and them. We are not immune.  What you have in common with the Them in America (I say "you" because I am a Canadian, even though I am an American in spirit) is that you are all American.  That's still and Us and Them, but it's a bigger, more inclusive Us. That has to be a division that cannot be allowed to be broken - even though it seems as though the Left (and anyone who claims to be a globalist as well) is certainly trying to do exactly that.

How you prevent a breakup of America in this hyper-partisan Us and Them climate is not obvious.  But I suggest it must be part of every effort, every debate, every decision going forward.  The only way America remains a cohesive nation is if everyone takes on that personal responsibility in their own lives.  Don't worry if the Them are not doing it, or the Us are not doing it, You do it. Make it your own goal.

To that end, I thought this video might be helpful to keep in mind.

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