The Us-Versus-Them Culture

In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton mass murders, I have to ask myself, what is causing people to think that mass murder is the right thing to do?  Why are radicals on both ends of the spectrum and people with certain social disorders being emboldened to actually act on their impulses and ideologies?

I think, in part, it’s because we have created a dangerous culture of us-against-them.

Every problem we face is being framed by the media and both political parties as being us against them.

  • Whites against minorities
  • The poor against the rich
  • Republicans against Democrats
  • Immigrants against citizens
  • The NRA against gun control supporters
  • Pro-life against pro-choice
  • Men against women
  • Millennials against Baby Boomers
  • Christians against Muslims
  • Environmentalists against corporations

In every case, one side of the debate demonizes the other side, and attacks anyone who even questions the validity of their cause.

This culture of us-against-them is emboldening the radicals and those with certain social disorders to act on their impulses, rather than suppressing them. This mentality is being pushed by both the right and the left, and it’s tearing our country to pieces.

We have always had differences.  In the past, however, we have been able to discuss our differences civilly.  We had tolerance.  We could rationally consider others’ viewpoints, and could agree to disagree and move on.  This is no longer the case.  Our culture has adopted the mentality that “we” must prevail against “them” at all costs.  This dangerous change in attitudes is what’s inciting the fringe radicals and people with social disorders to feel justified in planning and carrying out mass murders.

Until we stop pushing the us-against-them mindset, the violence will continue.  It’s not just the politicians, media, and entertainers that need to change; ordinary people on social media are just as much to blame, if not more.

Let’s change the us-against-them culture, before it destroys us.  Let’s stop blaming each other.  We will never agree on everything, but let’s work to have civil discourse and agree to disagree.

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