“Us” vs. “Them”

Alma Wood

February 9, 2016 01:14 pm

Our Divided Society

This divided society “us vs. them” paradigm seems to be deep within our evolutionary thinking. This survival theme of “we” must get “them” before “they” get “us” continues to burden our history and our futures.

As a paradigm, “us” vs. “them” at this point is beyond those we don’t identify with culturally. Our political definitions are now classified within the same polarized ethno-religious definitions of objectionable, dangerous and treacherous.

This is critical as the construction of fear, hate and threat of security, are the elements that motivate these divisions. And when these elements are conflated with a political dynamic, this creates a one-sided dangerous situation.

Most markedly my concern is the division from within between “right” and “left” political/social philosophies. I say this because it is these differences that are fuelling the ideology used to discriminate and create a polarized society.

The escalation online, on social media, within opinion editorial and the reportage of world events has increased in intensity with definitive expressions that encapsulate “right” or “left” viewpoints. The usage of labels such as “libtards”, “snowflakes” and other denigrating terms of those who do not embrace the same policies of the right-wing has now yielded a universal acceptance of denigration tied to aggressive statements including threats, blame and intimidation.

The 70-year American conflation of socialism as communism also fuels this mentality of disrespect and division.

Nationalism, War and Genocide

That this road has been long-travelled many times before; that every time tens to hundreds of millions are left dead, devastated and broken does not teach this lesson. Is that our end game… to charge one another to the death over human respect?

We know historically that nationalist state-sponsored political dominance ends in human and environmental devastation. Nationalism is constructed to divide societies; it purposefully creates ethnic cleavages. Nationalism always includes war. Nationalism engages in genocide as well.

We are beyond heading in this direction; we are on this path of nationalism, division and separation:

Already people have been classified as illegal, immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans and Liberals.

Symbols have been identified that separate the objectionable from the acceptable.

Target groups are on notice by state-sponsored policies that undermine their rights.

Dehumanization campaigns target specified groups promoting dogma and false narratives to create fear and fuel hate.

State authorities organize and nurture tyrannical hate groups who facilitate the “us” vs. “them” division.

Political, ethnic and religious divisions are defined to polarize the national community to separate the elite from the rest; a set-up that ensures target groups are unable to attain the elite definition.

This is where we are at: we are hovering between the above and below descriptions. The model I am describing is not a linear model, but is processual so that means it is always ongoing and building on its accomplishments.

State policies of freedom of expression face internal political challenges to silence moderates, witnesses and media, to remove debate and suppress resistance.

Policies for the purposes to overpower internal and external openness are put in action to prohibit outside governments and world organizations who would be able to influence alternative measures. Such acts can include benign issues such as trade never mind human rights or democracy. This is a feature that a genocide or politicide is in preparation mode.

The vulnerable population experiences significant violation of their human rights supported by state-sponsored policies that engage targeted persecution.

At this point, the political and social arena has been prepared: the elite population accepts the inevitability in the extermination/elimination of the target group: systematically, oppressively and without opposition.

And lastly before beginning again, denial is used as a tool to cover-up the crimes inflicted while creating the aura of impunity for more expansive genocides and politicides.

I don’t want any part of this nor do I wish to be a witness. As a moderate, myself and other moderates may be the first to go as we are willing to speak out and challenge these criminal state-sponsored enterprises. There are no excuses for those who participate or look the other way when such crimes are unfolding. This is not acceptable that folks are being systematically targeted because they pray to the east or they have experienced economic challenges that make them seek more fortuitous existences.

So where do we go from here?

The United States has the tools to end this unfolding process of nationalism and persecution. The US Constitution explicitly protects every American and visitor from such constructs. The president is that, a president. The Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch, and the Congress who represent the voices of the people, are created to work together not independent of one another. These three entities are also protected by the Constitution to ensure one or the other does not overstep its objectives or removes power or violates its purposes.

So it comes back to the engagement of the “right” vs. “left” divided society paradigm currently unfolding. There is no other way, all involved must dissociate from such labels to effectively engage in policies that create advantages from within collectively and individually.

Remember the Past

It was not that long ago that “the war to end all wars”, “the war that saved civilization” aka World War One had left Europe in destruction and chaos. It began from the brewing nationalism and desire for self-determination made even more prevalent by the race to dominate the industrial collective: shipping and military. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 failed to address the issue of nationalism in Europe as well. This failure inevitably made way for nationalism to dominate the region again by 1933. At that moment in time, a series of events were put in motion that would leave 60 million dead by the end of the Second World War in 1945.

The history is there that has proven nationalism to be criminal for this world beyond Europe as well. We cannot forget it and we must respect that this is a path of destruction; we must always have tools that prevent its inculcation. And we must collectively refuse to engage in it and prevent such ideologies to take precedence.

Forward Thinking

As a reader, you may think I am being dramatic, however I am not willing to be a bystander and let this all play out. If the Trump administration succeeds in its expressed goals against its now labeled target groups, other nations will also engage against those target groups as well. We must take steps to protect all involved.

Through the usage of common language we can bridge these divides. But first we most put aside our political labels to create a unified mosaic of experience, knowledge and diversity. We also must stand against intimidation and fear mongering; nor hide our heads in the sands with the hopes this will all go away.

The issue at hand is not security, it is a constructed effort to ethnically homogenize the region, which is the basis of a nationalistic home.


Source Materials

US Congress:

The US Constitution:

Stages of Genocide:

Nairn, Tom; James, Paul (2005). Global Matrix: Nationalism, Globalism and State-Terrorism. London and New York: Pluto Press.; and James, Paul (2006). Globalism, Nationalism, Tribalism: Bringing Theory Back In – Volume 2 of Towards a Theory of Abstract Community. London: Sage Publications.

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