GUEST COMMENTARY: Look for commonalities, not differences between us

2013-02-12T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Look for commonalities, not differences between usBy Dave Lain nwitimes.com
February 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

From our Neanderthal beginnings, we as humans banded together for survival and efficiency. Hunter-gatherers were more effective when working toward a mutual goal. So that we might better our chance of survival, we came together for our own sake. Even if the saber-toothed tiger succeeded in picking off a few of us, the rest of the hunters would likely bring him down.

Soon after our species became established as a planetary success story, we began to split off into separate tribes with issues of territorial competition. Fast forward through the millennia to witness the resultant formation of nations, wars, fear and suspicion.

The “We vs. They” syndrome has had a pretty major role in messing things up on a national, if not global, scale. Now, more than any time in my memory we have polarized ourselves along political/social dividing lines. Of course, all sides are uncompromisingly convinced that they are absolutely right. Now ask yourself (and your representatives) “How’s that working out?”

On the plus side, were it not for the unity and pride we feel in being “Americans” there no doubt would be other nations equally proud of their identity who would be all too eager to assimilate our culture and resources into theirs. Identifying common goals, values and ideals is not only noble, but also downright imperative.

Look closely at your own sphere of influence. I’ll wager that none of us can claim that “we” can’t immediately declare some class of individuals who are the “they” standing in the way of our prosperity and well being. If you are a Democrat, it’s those heartless Republicans. If you are a taxpayer, it’s anyone connected with government. If you are employed, it’s employers who keep down the masses. If you are the employer, it’s likely the unions that brought the nation to ruin.

I have a friend who likes to harp about the ill effects of all the “special interest groups” who court the “Fat Cats” in Washington. Before you start nodding in unison, think about what special interest groups you belong to. In my buddy’s case, it’s the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the American Legion and AARP. Remember, your advocate in Indianapolis or Washington is just a stinkin’ lobbyist to someone else!

We are all, every one of us, members of some special interest group. We are somebody else’s "they."

Our energies would be much better spent by finding commonality as individuals. Instead, we circle our proverbial wagons, fearing whatever hoard will be riding down on us from over the hill crest. If we would venture out of our enclave to peek over the top of that hill for a better perspective we would likely see just another circle of wagons full of frightened travelers.

Dave Lain is Porter County's sheriff. The opinions are the writer's.

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