Glad I’m not one of ‘them’

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh, I am so glad that I am not one of “them.” You know them – they are the cause of so many problems. They are different from “us” and that creates trouble.

Right now, political campaigns talk about them, which makes me even more thankful not to be one of that gang of odd-man-out, problem-causing types. Even when it is not an election year, they’re around stirring things up. I get emails about them that I’m encouraged to forward. That is why I am so thankful to be out of their circle.

Yes, it is good not to be one of those nasty liberals – that bunch of freethinking, social-program supporting folks. Don’t they understand they are the problem?

Oh and it’s great not to be a confounded conservative – those value-talking, cut-the-social-spending people. Surely, they see they are the problem.

Thank goodness, I’m not a member of the elite, rich group – the grab-it-while-you-can-no-matter-who-it-hurts humans. Wouldn’t our problems be less without them?

And, I’m so grateful not to be on the welfare rolls with all of those poor folks – the looking-for-a-handout group? Undoubtedly, many of our problems would not exist if they didn’t exist.

My, it is nice not to be an alien type, especially the illegal kind – that gaggle of border-crossing, resource-robbing foreigners. Yep, they are the problem.

How wonderful not to call myself patriotic – that flag-waving, my-country-is-better-than-yours crowd. Things would be better if they weren’t so pushy.

I’m equally glad not to belong to the educated, uneducated, straight, gay, white, black, Asian, protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, male, female, redneck, cultured, tall, short, fat, skinny etc. people. With them lie all our problems.

Yes, there are a lot of “them” out there, many more than I described. In fact, there probably isn’t enough room in any newspaper to list them and talk about how they cause strife.

OK, I am exaggerating, writing tongue-in-cheek if you will. However, there is a point to all this tomfoolery. If we really stop and look and listen, to the ways we divide ourselves from each other it gets downright silly. The best politicians know how to use that silliness to divide and conquer so we focus more on “them” and their differences than on “us” and our similarities, which might put the one pointing “them” out in the driver’s seat when it comes to voting. You know, scare us with or make us angry enough about them and we will vote for you.

Why does recognizing how we label each other matter?

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, expressed the reason we should consider a different way of thinking in an opinion piece in the New York Times.

He wrote, “As a species, we must embrace the oneness of humanity as we face global issues like pandemics, economic crises and ecological disaster. At that scale, our response must be as one.”

Another forward thinker said it in a simpler more lyrical way, which I like a lot and often catch myself humming.

According to the lyrics of a Muppet song as sung by one of my personal heroes, Kermit the Frog, “We are all earthlings, spinning around together on a planet of the sun…”

Therefore, I’ve decided to recognize myself as an earthling. Perhaps if more of us claim membership in that group, we can move toward finding solutions for some of the problems caused by “them.”