To the Editor:
Everybody’s an “innie” or an “outie”. That used to be the dividing line our kids talked about with belly buttons. Now it’s a fundamental dynamic of group psychology that’s helping divide our country.
Here’s how it works…once we identify with a group we instinctively try to raise our esteem and the prospects of our side while diminishing the “outies” (Go Mizzou, Kansas sucks lemons).
Normally an innocent enough way to organize the world and feel as though we belong, it can be used to blunt inconvenient realities, as in war where we learn to hate the unfeeling, wholly evil enemy so we can efficiently crush them. Politics has become our war zone.
Today, no us versus them distinction is more inflammatory than political party affiliation. We have forgotten to see each other as individuals, just “outies” and the distrust grows deeper by the day. Ask a Jew or a Palestinian how that’s working for them.
The mechanics of sustaining group identity include making your message dominant…that is, loud, frequent and consistent. Also, seeing danger everywhere ensures reliance on the group and its leader as the only sources of safety.
Both parties use pressure, we know.
Dems wear our blue, have gatherings, and bumper stickers, too, but feel we restrain ourselves with certain principles and are not afraid to seek answers from outside sources. There is no beating around the bush when we tell you that we see Donald Trump everywhere as chief orchestrator of today’s divisiveness.
He applauds only the one news source that supports him wholeheartedly (Fox), while disparaging the constitutionally mandated free press that has provided generations of protective vigilance for our nation. Their reward is to be branded “enemies of the people.”
Refugee families are special “emergency” enemies.
White Nationalists? Well, not so much.
The President insists on our attention every news cycle and with never ending tweets. He dismisses reputable science even from his own agencies. He distracts with hate speech, fans resentment from insecurity with labels like “elitist liberals,” and lies at a legendary pace.
All this is to methodically blur the perspective of his followers.
Clearly this president believes the adage, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
The dishonesty and manipulation to divide us are abundant and easy enough to see at work.
Look for yourselves.
Look as the independent-thinking neighbors we know you to be.