The They

They: Is there a more divisive word?

They are the rich people who lie and connive and continuously and collectively plot to keep the poor poor. They are the 1 percent. They profiteer on the backs of the other they.

These other they are too lazy and uneducated and uniformed to carry their weight. The first they don’t want to pay taxes to support these mooching, uninspired they.

They are elitist prigs who flaunt their organic foods and electric vehicles and gay marriages and lack of faith as badges of honor. They hate and mock that other party of they, the dumb hicks who shoot guns and still subscribe to the silly antiquated notions of organized religion. Despite the myopic views of the liberal they, the ones who run the media, these they constitute a good chunk of the American people. And don’t even get me started on the other they, the more than 6 billion fools who choose not to be American.

Most of we American theys barely even acknowledge the existence of any other theys elsewhere in this gigantic world, lest they support the views of our own they. We’ll just ignore them to simplify this already confusing miasma of finger-pointing.

Can you believe they are voting for that crazy guy? And they are voting for that eerily focused lady?

You see where I’m going with this. They literally don’t exist, of course. Stereotypes exist, sure, but one simply cannot apply the parameters so neatly and broadly as any commentator would like. However, if you read Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Amazon reviews or comments on any Internet site anywhere, you’ll see that they is an omnipresent faction of something else that we don’t agree with, loosely personified.

It could just be the unfiltered noise enabled by the above channels of human volubility, but it seems to this writer that we are living in the most divisive era in human history. We all hate each other, and we don’t even know why. We have every opportunity to communicate in real time at all times, an opportunity we could use to understand the experiences and biases and blind spots of people to expand our individual and collective empathy. But listening is a dead art, and changing a deader one still.

Frieda sez: We can rebuild it. We have the technology.

But where did we learn this? Like everyone’s all-time-favorite PSA, we learned it from you, dad! And you, politicians! We learned it from you, commentators left and right. We learned it from our biased family and teachers and neighbors, who all valued certainty over doubt, assertion over introspection, collectivism over the resplendent power of the individual, the ever-evolving individual.

Surely every blog post has a point. May I humbly submit that we adopt an incremental modicum of awareness of the innocent theys that commonly escape our well-intentioned tongues? Can we speak from our own experience rather than the presupposing of others’?

Pointless or not, I don’t purport that this tiny collection of words could change the behavior of anyone or blanket our fractured planet with just a little more love and tolerance.

But what if it did? They would get a kick out of that.


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