Wednesday, August 18

There is no ‘them’. There is only ‘us’.

This is the bad news:

We are violent, bigoted, racist, exclusive, divisionary, biased, cynical and greedy. We just need to fucking own that.

That politician that is so slimy that he is defending himself after trying to sell a senatorial seat? He’s part of us. So is that Prime Minister that seems to think it’s okay to suspend democracy when things aren’t going his way. So is that Imam that manipulates people into suicide bombings. So is that minister who is so ashamed of his own homosexuality that he demonizes every other gay and queer. So is that CEO that is willing to sell out an entire ecology to make a quick buck. And the list could go on and on.

These people are all part of us. They aren’t part of some magical ‘them’, the existence of which will allow us to be different than them and therefore, by some twisted acrobatics of denial, the ‘good guys’. They. Are. Us.

We live in a world that’s in trouble. We live in a horribly divided and manipulated culture. We live in an age where profit is more important than the good of the species. We live in a society where many of us think that it’s justified and acceptable to divide us based on race, or religion, or culture, or how much money we have. We live on a planet where it’s somehow okay for two billion of us to live on less that two bucks a day. This place where these things are ignored so long as some of us can remain cloistered in our comfortable little enclaves is our world. We are the ones responsible.

But there’s good news too:

We are also peaceful, inclusive, tolerant, accepting, generous, courageous, altruistic, idealists, hopeful and empathic.

The good news is that that guy, the social leader that preached non-violence and led so many people in a protest against racism? He’s one of us too. So is the religious leader from Tibet that preaches love and inclusion and religious tolerance. So is that catholic nun that embraced poverty so she could reach out to the impoverished. So is that social leader that led thousands of Indians in non-violent protest for their right to self-determination. So is that politician that still is still idealistic and has integrity (I know of at least two, so don’t say it can’t happen).

These people are part of us too. We get to own the good part of us even as we have to, absolutely must, own the bad parts as part of us. It’s a package deal and we can’t forget it. Ever.

This is what I want to believe, what I choose to believe:

When we get past the binary of ‘us’ and ‘them’ there’s good to go with the bad, and bad to go with the good. Past the binary there’s a place where there’s only us. We don't get to pass the buck there. We get to try to pick up the pieces in that place. In that magical and daunting land we have to make peace, find a way to accept each other, embrace each other.

In spite of the differences. Because of the commonalities.

We are all us, and it’s all we’ve fucking got. Maybe it's time for us to quit wasting time. Maybe we could quit pointing fingers and just get to fucking work one of these days.