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.