Saturday, June 8, 2024

#160 / There Is No "Them"

Click that YouTube link, above, to listen to the commencement address presented by historian Ken Burns, speaking to those graduating from Brandeis University. Burns' speech is just over twenty minutes long. The full text of Burns' speech can be found by using this link

Among other things, Burns said this:

If I have learned anything ... it's that there's only “us.” There is no “them.” And whenever someone suggests to you, whomever it may be in your life that there's a “them,” run away. “Othering” is the simplistic binary way to make and identify enemies, but it is also the surest way to your own self imprisonment (emphasis added).

There is no "Them." To put it more positively, "We are all in this together." 

Let us not forget this truth during what is a momentous election year. Any political candidate who tells us that there are "good guys" and "bad guys," "allies" and "enemies," is making use of one of the most ancient of political strategies: 

Any genuine politics cannot properly be based on identifying "enemies" who must be defeated (and even "eliminated"). The practice of politics is the discussion and debate about what we should do - collectively, together. Those worthy of being placed into positions of political leadership, or power, should be speaking to the people about our possibilities - about what we should be doing, in terms of policy, to address both the perils that confront us, and the possibilities we might realize.

"Divide and Rule" is employing a political technique as old as the Greeks. 

Let's not be fooled.

In a country dedicated to "self-government," we don't want to be "ruled."

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