Thursday 22 May 2014

Them and Us.

The world has been turned into the domain of black and white. It is Us and Them. It is worthy and not worthy. Good vs Bad. Once upon a time there was grey. Once upon a time we realised that the world wasn't quite so simple. That the land between good and bad was peppered with infinite variety. We understood that most of the people we encountered, most of the issues in society were to be understood on a scale of grey. But the grey is now gone.

Society has put on it's blinkers to avoid the complexity that surrounds and inhabits. We want our information in 140 characters. Short. Simple. And to the point. We don't want to think. We don't want to question. We don't want to consider that perhaps the slogans of our politicians and public commentators aren't actually true. It is much easier to understand the world through the lens of Them and Us.

Them are evil, lazy, illegal, undeserving, unworthy.

Us are good and virtuous.

Us are nothing like Them.

We don't want to see Them as people. We give them titles instead. Disabled, Poor, Boat People, Homeless. Scum, Illegals, Bludgers, Scroungers, Slackers. Sometimes we simply give them numbers. Them become dot points on graphs and statistics trotted out by our politicians day-after-day-after-day. Say it enough and we believe. We dehumanise. Labels allow us to distance ourselves from Them. We can sit back and say that'd never happen to Us. We're not like that. Labels and numbers allow us to say and do things we would never say or do to someone when face-to-face. We can forget. It's not our problem. Why should We have to care about Them?

Instead, we must protect Us against Them. We must punish Them for their wicked ways. Or ignore Them. Or call Them names. We can scape-goat Them for everything and anything. We can blame Them for our ills.We can blame Them for their own ills. We can blame Them for our treatment of Them.

We have lost the grey and we have lost our humanity in the process. We refuse to acknowledge that it simple isn't that clear cut. We refuse to believe that one day we could become one of Them.

I am tired of hearing about Them. I am tired of how we can simply ignore others because we can't relate to Them, because we believe that they are so unlike Us. That they are so Other. And therefore deserving of their circumstance.

We have drunk the Kool-Aid. We went back for a second round, and sucked it down with glee. Because that is easy. That is safe.

We have been sold a lie for political expediency and self-protection.

But there is no Them and Us. There is simply Us. Simply humanity in all it's infinite variety. And that humanity is shared even though there may be difference in look, or voice, or ability.

We need to re-embrace all people as Us. Only then can we reclaim compassion. Only then will we attempt to understand. Only then will we act. Only then can we truly move forward as the society that we claim we want to be.

Only then can we leave a world fit for our children to inhabit.

Only then can we leave children who are fit to inhabit the world.



  1. Its so true Michelle and I wish people would wake up to it here in the UK. I am sick of seeing the disabled, the poor and immigrants or anyone remotely different being targeted as the reason for all societies ills. In the UK the sick and the vulnerable have taken the brunt of the austerity cuts, people are dying, food banks are on the rise and no one seems to care. The media turns a blind eye. Social media is the only media reporting on this. Keep it up!

    Rach x

    1. The media and politics is getting very divisive here. I mean it always has been to a certain extent, but it has really amped up over the last few years. I am sorry it's happening in the UK too. What you said about some of the disability assessments there are not just scary but completely out there. I think they have forgotten that for every statistic they mention, it is real people who will pay the price. :( xx

  2. In the months leading up to the federal budget & ever since, I am left feeling saddened by the way those in high places are setting out to punish those on the bottom. I am so concerned about the changes that are proposed for all on welfare or needing significant medical care. I feel embarrassed to have an invisible disability. One of my facebook friends put up a post this week saying the age of welfare is gone, we can't afford it as a country. All I could think was you'd better hope you are never unemployed, sick or disabled. I would be happy to pay more taxes & know there is a safety net for those who's life takes a turn for the worst. People don't seem to understand it could so easily be them one day. I LOVE reading your posts, they always resonate with me. Xx

    1. I feel the same, Vintage Bird Girl. There is very much a blame the poor, sick, disabled etc mentality that seems to miss the possibility that one day it could be them. What was that old saying "there but for the grace of God go I" or something like that. Dehumanising people makes it so much easier to abuse or ignore them. I've been pretty outspoken on SoMe about how I feel about the Budget and I did notice I lost followers. But I'm tired and out of tolerance right now. :(


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