I have been doing some serious thinking lately. I know it is serious because my brain is getting hot. It is a good thing that I don’t have much hair up there anymore, that lets the heat dissipate better. Anyway, this post is about America’s heritage and how we need to rescue it. This is going to be one of my soapbox/philosophical speeches so hang on.Read more
I don’t know exactly when this round of” Us vs Them” started, but it is proven to be flat out destructive. Let me spend a few minutes here trying to show you the damage it has done and what we might do to reverse it.
From what I can find making those who think differently than you do in the political arena started in earnest during the Newt Gingrich era of the 1980s. I like to blame Reagan for most of this stuff so I will add his name here too. Since that time partisanship has almost completely evaporated! It is now all about defeating your bitter foes on the other side of the great divide.
The problem is that today’s divide has become so wide and vitriolic that it comes down to friend vs enemy, politics is always war, and life in general is eternal conflict. We have it in our mind that if we can just defeat our enemy we can make a perfect world where everything goes our way.
Little do we realize that can never happen. Once that mentality takes shape in our mind it fashions enemies where none were previously present. All we do is peel the onion down to the next conflict level.
I would like to believe, whether it is true or not, that most of us don’t always live our lives in that mode. We manage to get along with our neighbors, even if they are different from us. Those of us in small communities actually enjoy those around us. Yes, there is the tribal instinct when it comes to family but there is also a community instinct outside of family.
The underlying problem in America, and much of the rest of the world, is division, or how we separate ourselves from others :
- The widening gap between rich and poor
- rural and urban
- whites and people of color
- educated and less educated
- conservative and progressive
But I can’t help believe that somehow these divides can be conquered using things where we agree with each other. The first part of this very long journey is to find those things. Let’s look at a few possibilities here to get us started:
- We all love our children and want what’s best for them.
- We are bound by our work ethic and can find improvements we all want to see in that area.
- We all want a sense of belonging so maybe we can find a way to pull the political power more to the local area.
- We all have a shared sense of community. If only we can see that there is a diversity of poeple in that community that are not threatening to us.
We need all of these things to begin coming together as a nation. Let’s all try to take baby steps in these areas and before you know it we just might be taking giant leaps together.
The Us vs Them Mindset Just Might Take Down Our Country – Let’s Find Our Common Bonds To Keep That From Happening
I have pretty much given up on the hope that those who are part of the Radical Right/Fear tribe will ever really understand my view of the world or that I will understand theirs. All we seem to be able to do lately is to scream at each other across the red/blue abyss that separates us. Is that a fruitful way to spend the rest my life? Maybe it’s time go down a different path? That is the thought in this post.
We, in the United States, used to have a common bond but that seems to be fracturing now. There are two basic mentalities that currently dominate.
Red Tribe – There are those whose primary emotion is fear of the unknown. Fear of scientific advancements, fear of automation, fear of strangers, and especially fear that their way of life might be changing. This group wants things to remain static. They welcome new products and services that make their life easier but still fear the technology that made them possible. They fear that their loss of majority status will mean others will lord over them as they have done over others in the past. Finally, they fear that their religion is losing prominence and therefore relevance in the world.
Blue Tribe – There are those who see one of the most basic things in life is “change”. They are constantly looking for ways to do things better. They recognize that change often brings on apprehension but it also brings on much-needed progress. They celebrate technological advances that help us live longer more fruitful lives. They believe that diversity is at the core of the success in our country. They don’t fear the future but instead embrace it and the challenges it brings.
I think these two groups have always been around but the Us vs Them mentality is so dominant now. Will we ever be able to fill the deep divide between us?
Getting back to my personal story, I am in my eighth decade now so I have decided to drop out of this war of different moralities and let those younger than me fight it from here on out. I will continue to provide insight that my years of experiences have provided but I will no longer be a soldier in this war. I will continue as I always have to vote at every opportunity but I will no longer try to convince those who I see as unconvincible.
My new mantra in life is “One day at a time” and each day is simply too valuable to waste on those adamantly opposed to the moralities that have driven my life. I pray that those who have many more years in front of them than behind take up the mantle I am dropping for I fear the consequences if they don’t…