Othering Each Other

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I have been known to cut up rough. I mince no words. I do try to be even-handed, even headed, and even keeled, but sometimes even I get uneven. When faced with willful ignorance or deliberate cruelty I get angry. This is more true when I face both at once. So I will not claim to have not gone on an angry tirade at this group or that. There are large swaths of our society who choose to dig in their heels and not take a look at the effects of their stances on other groups of people. That said, I do not hate those people, nor do I think they are beyond hope, I just wish they behaved better. Which is why I am so bothered by this:

party other meme

Now obviously the creator, and carriers, of this meme can claim they mean Republican politicians. The thing is, they never say that. That bottom line makes a clear statement: “almost a quarter of my fellow Americans are my enemy.” In a country with politics that stay within a very narrow scope of ideology I find my self confused. Yes there are social issues on which the two parties differ, but beyond that the differences in policy over the years have been very small. Yes, right now the GOP has been hijacked by people with extreme views, but we have already seen those people have seen their influence diminished.

Ultimately though, the amount of influence the Tea Party has on Republicans is neither here nor there. By spreading this meme, people are saying they view a group of Americans are less than they are. Make no mistake, we see Republicans do this too, much of their politics is centered on this, but I fail to see where taking up the tactics we despise in those we oppose is not hypocritical in the extreme. Besides, most people of both parties just want to get through their days.

Most people of both parties, despite their tendency to be mindless cheerleaders for their chosen ones, do not think too much about politics. Yes that is a problem, but it also underscores the silliness of othering fellow Americans based on their party affiliation. Whether it is Democrats doing it to Republicans or vice versa it is a mindset that always leads to ugliness, just ask the surviving friends and family of those blacklisted during this country’s Red Scare.

I have had fun with those claiming politics in this country are polarized, given how little the real differences are between the parties in this country compared to those in other countries. That is just semantics though, I understand what they mean. Politics in this country are mean, and it has made those that affiliate with one party or the other mean. They name the other “enemy” and real dialogue in our nation is closed off, at least among the masses. Which is the important thing to remember. While uncles and nephews are arguing at family picnics, while neighbors are spitting their favorite quotes from MSNBC and Fox News at each other, and while people are claiming the other party is what is wrong with this country, the politicians in both parties are sitting back, doing little to really fix the ills in this country because they do not have to. Why should they when we cannot have  a civil discussion in this country to find out what we want them to do?

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One thought on “Othering Each Other

  1. Pingback: Invite Yourself To A Party | Hand of Ananke

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