Thursday, April 7, 2016

The "Us vs Them" Paradox and the Battle to be Right

In this heated and sometimes ridiculous climate of the political debate, I’m not the only one struggling with the “Us vs Them” paradox. I find myself in the company of many, blood boiling at the blatant ignorance and apparent stupidity coming from the “other” side.

The trouble is, “they” are thinking the same thing about “us.”

The fact is that the truth for each individual is the truth regardless of whether it is actually true. Often, if we believe it, we accept it as true regardless of reality. We are so largely driven by our perception of reality as opposed to actual reality, that sometimes it’s challenging to distinguish the difference.

The bottom line is, it’s terrifying to face facts that make us fearful and insecure in the world, so we cling to our false perceptions and defend them, fight for them, sometimes even to the death. We see this happening, not just in our very own joke of a political race, but all over the world.

Regardless of whether “they” are ignorant, ill informed, bigoted turds, the fact remains that we have a choice in how we behave in the face of our own anger. If we attack “them” in retribution, we become “them.” The same appalling behaviors we see in them become our own.

The historic default path is to battle it out to prove which is the stronger, better, and more righteous group.

Isn’t it time we do better than that?

Bernie Sanders and the people who have rallied along side him, are making strides to leave the figurative pissing contest behind in a massive attempt to create a productive political structure focused on progressive behavior.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re still mad as hell. But what we are doing with our anger is a productive mobilization to take back our democracy, be our own voice, take social media by storm, educate ourselves and each other about how the political structure actually works (or rather doesn’t work), and getting involved to make the changes, one painstakingly small step at a time, that will ultimately change the world we live in for the better.

Now this, is progress.


  1. The communication is likely also disturbed due to all the money in American politics. If a politician is not in the position to compromise because he has to do what his donors want, an honest debate is not possible, not even listening to his own voters makes sense, except for how to package the same stuff in a nicer way.

    Money in media also does not help. That may even be a tougher nut to knack than money in politics.

    The example of people in authority trickles down, especially with authoritarians.

    It is also getting worse in Europe, but still much better. In Europe a liberal can still have an adult conversation with a conservative. I hope that when it gets better in America, this will also help communication in Europe.