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Us vs Them-ing

October 21, 2014

Everyone knows the “Us vs. Them” technique.  It’s taking a presumably diverse set of individuals with their own wants, needs, desires, personalities, outlooks, and opinions and clumping them together based on a single commonality, turning them into Them.

It’s genius, really.  Once they become Them, arguing the issues no longer matters.  You can’t reason with Them.  All They want to do is destroy whatever We hold sacred.  We can’t let them do it!  Burn the place down if you have to, but don’t let Them in.

The problem is that “Us vs. Them”ing is really easy to do and it’s pretty darned effective for two reasons: 1. everyone wants their opinion to be the right one, and 2. having a Them to point to instantly removes the nuances from an argument.  Wielded by the unscrupulous or the greedy, “Us vs. Them”ing can create a false division between people who really should have the same ultimate objectives in mind (here’s looking at you, US government).  Honestly, there’s nothing more irritating than paying attention to the news and only hearing the latest rail about how They are trying to kill old people or They are actively pursing America’s demise.  (Seriously, read that last one and then try and tell me this author can see both sides of an issue.)

Personally, I’d like to hear a little more about differences in opinion and issue rather than broad-brush attacks on Them.

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