Friday, July 08, 2016

Them, Us, and All of Us

I got a late start this morning because I was up way too late last night watching the news coverage from downtown. I'm still a little numb that something so awful happened in my metro area (I don't live in Dallas, but that's sort of my "downtown" as the main city in the area). And now I need to get ready to go have lunch with a friend, so this will be short.

I'm not going to get into politics because that's really not my thing, other than to say that I think the main problem in the world right now is that we have a bad "them" way of thinking. Most of the bad things happening come from someone seeing "them" instead of seeing human beings, and this is happening from every corner, every side of every political spectrum, in every conflict. Worse, if you don't join in on condemning the "them," you get turned into a "them." So the hate just builds and escalates, and it's turning into a vicious spiral. Social media is so full of stuff like "people like that" and "those people" and labels and names for groups, and then people congratulating themselves on being better and smarter than those other people like that, and while they don't condone hate or name calling, it's okay when it's directed at those people. You know, people like that who aren't like us, since we know they're all like that. There are all kinds of things you can slot into the "them," and just about every group possible has been considered a "them."

This is what has to stop. Look at individuals and judge them by their words and their behavior, but don't try to paint everyone in whatever groups they belong to with that same brush. Don't assume motives unless someone tells their motives, and if someone tells their motives, you can't assume everyone with the same opinions or actions has the same motive. There aren't any "them." There's just "us," all of us, human beings. The moment you think of someone as "one of them," you dehumanize them, and that makes it easier to hurt them, whether with words or worse.

I guess I had this on my mind when I was writing Rebel Magisters because there really isn't a villain in the traditional sense. There are different sides, but there are good people and bad people on all the sides, and we're forced to look at individuals. There's no assuming that any one group is all good or all bad. Each individual has to decide what's right and what's wrong, and they have to focus on their ideals instead of on any concept of "them." So perhaps my book is more timely than I possibly could have realized, and I hope it makes people think.

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