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“Them and Us” A Little Exploration

As a general rule, I work very hard to avoid thinking in terms of “them” and “us”, but the circumstances that exist at the moment lead me to reflect a bit about those categories. Thus, in this piece I want to explore those characterizations, the implications of them and the necessity for finding a remedy for them.

“Them,” is a term that can be used to describe any group at any time, and I am using it in this instance to describe a group of folks who seem to believe many things that hinder community, peace, democracy, and any shared sense of care for their fellow human beings unless they are considered a part of their tribe. Of course, “us” is usually used to describe whoever is deemed different by the person who is generalizing about a particular group. This type of thinking and speaking make it difficult to find the common threads that could be used to bind us together as the human family and we find ourselves steeped in this type of negative energy at the moment.

While there are many groups, I want to talk about a group that is engaged in seeking to define the truth as whatever suits their particular narrative regardless of what the identifiable historical facts might be. They simply believe that if one does not like the facts, new ones that are more acceptable can be made up. This leads to telling lies about history and trying to create support for those lies by banning books, attempting to erase the cultural contributions of those whose history includes abuses and oppression, and any other subjects that cause them discomfort such as death or gender identity. It is hard to know if these folks actually believe some of the outrageous things that they say, but they make it appear so by continuously saying them. We see this in the current Trump case where there is a willingness on the part of elected officials to defend lawlessness and malign the legal system.

The irony of their narrative is that it is true that there is unfairness in the ways in which the legal system administers the law and has been for years when it comes to poor whites and people of color and that has not and does not bother them now. Thus, one has to wonder why there is so much talk about the legal system being out of control now. Perhaps it is because they feel entitled to better treatment and think that one of them should be given preferential treatment. We are left to ponder this particular matter without much data to clarify what is truly in their minds and hearts. But it clearly helps to create a “them” category when citizens in general are treated so differently.

There is another group that must be highlighted. They are the ones who care more about guns than gun safety. They find that living with having over three-hundred mass shootings since January 2023 including little children whose greatest fault was showing up at school on the day that a crazed shooter came to their school and took their lives is acceptable because supporting their right to carry a gun matters most of all. One could more than likely make a guess that it has more to do with elections, gun lobbyists and profits than it does with the 2nd Amendment. A good reason for this conclusion is that no one is actually advocating that they cannot have guns, the advocacy is about better control and seeking a path to manage the wholesale violence that victimizes everyone.

Then there is the “us,” group in regard to these things that I have discussed. We believe facts cannot be made up to suit every narrative that someone wishes to invent. There is something called the truth and it can be ascertained. It is not simply left up to every individual to make up their own truth. Along with that there is a commitment to the idea that no one is above or below the law and that everyone should be treated equally by the legal system.

Those in the “us” group are past ready to do whatever it takes to end gun violence including living without weapons if it takes that to rid our land of the violence that is causing so much heart-breaking loss of lives. There is a great constant cry for the violence to end.

As a country seeking to be a partner with the rest of the planet in helping to build a sustainable world, we have to come to terms with “them” and “us” thinking. Perhaps we can find a path to one another by taking our eyes off the issues about which we are constantly in disagreement and begin to look for the ones that bring us to the table. Saving our planet is all that is at stake. I wonder if that is enough?

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