The “Us vs.Them” Mentality that is Dividing the Nation

So it’s election season and you know what that means…cue the Facebook fights.

Yep.

My news feed is bombarded with Donald Trump jokes and pictures of Bernie Sanders depicted as a communist tyrant. I am coming to you neutral, I know politically where I stand on issues that are important to me, but that is not what this post is about. I want to get to a bigger problem that seems to be festering underneath all the snide comments and hurt feelings.

The problem is America divides itself into packs. This is human nature.  We all have this need of belonging and we naturally seek out those who have similar beliefs as us.   This is a good thing, but it starts getting nasty when anyone outside of our pack is seen as “lower” or “less-intelligent.”

One of the reasons why our country is so great is because we have the right to freedom of speech. We can believe in what we want, and we can talk about it! Many countries don’t have that right. Yet we feel the need to stifle those who’s opinions are different from ours.

Stop taking this right for granted.

I know so many people who say they “value diversity” but they really don’t. They define diversity within their own parameters and discount everything else. They’ll say out-loud “We should all unite” and “diversity is a good thing” yet they will criticize and mock someone else’s political or spiritual beliefs.

This is a skewed form of diversity.

Just the other day I saw a painting of Donald Trump done with a woman’s menstrual blood…like what? If that were done to me I would consider that emotional abuse especially since it was put online for the whole world to see.  Yes, I don’t agree very much with him, but this is just cruel.

No “pack” or group of people is immune to the “Us vs. Them” mentality. Even political, religious or cultural minorities. We will always think of someone on the outside as a “them.”

And all packs seem to play victim simultaneously. The democrats and the republicans will  both say the other side is attacking them, and they are both right. Because it’s true,  we get caught up in the heat of an  argument…It makes great news after all.

 

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So what can we do about this? 

Fight to be different. This election season research your candidates, don’t let some popular news station tell you who to vote for. They’re all packs too. And when you do find your perfect candidate, vote for them. No matter if people ridicule you or not.

Your voting right is precious. Use it. Cherish the fact you live in a country where you have the ability to decide your next leader. But don’t vote blindly! You have an important responsibility.

Don’t hurt others’ feelings by posting demeaning pictures or articles about somebody else’s opinions/beliefs.  I know when I see stuff like that about what I believe in it feels like a personal attack, and it hurts. It’s not very nice. And it definitely won’t make people like you anymore. So why do it?

If you have done this, I encourage you to take down whatever was posted. Or if it was done in person then apologize to them. This is not restricting your own right to speech because you can replace those posts with positive posts about all the good things your candidate is doing instead of bashing someone else’s candidate.

Side note – Don’t call any president/political candidate “stupid” that is a cop-out to. What that really means is, “I don’t know what they believe…I just don’t like them.” Plus no presidents/candidate are stupid. Think about about both Obama and George W. Bush, they were probably called “stupid” the most. However, both of them graduated with degrees from Ivy League schools and worked very hard to become president. It takes a lot of effort, determination and sleepless nights to rule the country.

You don’t know why someone believes the way they do. Talk to them about that instead. This doesn’t mean you have to change your opinions it just means that you are willing to listen to the other person on why they believe what they believe. Diversity! Yay, isn’t that awesome? Then you can tell them your opinions. I promise they will be more willing to listen after you’ve heard them first. They may not want to hear it, but they will be more receptive if you respect them.

This country will never truly unite unless we can be willing to listen, and still work together regardless of opinions and beliefs.

Just treat people like people, even if you disagree with them. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you should hurt people

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