A Facebook friend that I’ve known online for probably 10 years or so posted this photo to his page today.
So I unfriended him. But it made me sad, for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, I like the guy. He’s a good egg, a funny guy, a genuinely kind person, and we share many of the same interests, opinions, and sense of humor.
There is a bigger sadness, though, and that is the propagation of the “Us v. Them” mentality. The conclusion that differing opinions require separation. If you’re not with me, you’re against me. If you don’t agree with me, you’re of no worth to me. My way or the highway.
Whatever happened to “In a multitude of counselors there is wisdom”?
Of course, this gun control issue is just the division of the day due to the recent mass shooting. You know what’s sad? I’m not going to mention what mass shooting happened recently, but if someone is reading this 3 years from now, the reference to a “recent mass shooting” won’t even put this in a memorable time frame.
As I was saying, this is just one issue that causes everyone to pick teams and go huddle in their corner. Political parties (dear God, help me get through these political campaigns and their outrageousness), gay marriage, abortion, immigration reform, police brutality, religion….it goes on and on. Us vs. Them.
There is no civilized debate anymore, let alone reasonable discussion. There is no ability to “agree to disagree”. There is not passionate discourse espousing the good of an opinion; there is degrading, uncouth, offensive, derogatory, demeaning rhetoric spewed against the opposing view.
Mudslinging run amok.
Then there is the stereotyping. Holy hell.
Support law enforcement = racist
Support #BlackLivesMatter = bleeding heart liberal (or thug)
Republican = greedy, racist, redneck, war monger
Democrat = lazy, welfare loving, immoral, milquetoast
Christian = uneducated, hypocritical, bible-thumper, intolerant
Gay = pervert, pedophile, homosexual recruiter
Just the tip of the iceberg. And each one of those identified groups of people (stereotypes) is what’s destroying this country according to at least one of the other groups.
Sad, sad, sad.
Remember 9/12/01? When our political, racial, religious, social differences all kind of faded away, and we were just Americans that wanted to stand together? 14 years later, we’ve developed into ever growing groups of Us and Them. We look at those who have different thoughts or beliefs as enemies. We’ve convinced ourselves that the Us visions of what America should be can’t be had as long as Them exist. We’re doing to ourselves what the terrorists tried to do 14 years ago: destroy the American way of life.
I don’t have the answers. I’m not smart enough for that. But I know polarization will never solve anything.
You know what else I know? That I learn a lot of stuff from those of you that are different from me. I gain understanding and perspective. I don’t always agree, but I don’t have to. So whether you’re a gun enthusiast, homosexual, Christian, Liberal, police officer, overpaid CEO, underpaid fast food worker, Democrat, atheist, immigrant, vegan, or Republican, I will treat you and your opinions with respect and kindness. I will be happy for your successes. I will pray for you when you’re struggling. I will tell you jokes that aren’t politically correct. I will share recipes. I’ll be your friend, but I won’t be an Us or a Them.