The Us versus Them Debate

by Toya Johnson

I was watching the nightly news last week, as I often do, to keep up with the latest news of the world. Our daily dose of War, Famine, Deadly Diseases along with Murder and other mayhem thrown in for good measure. And who should appear on the screen but Texas’ own Governor Governor Rick Perry or as one local radio commentator (who is no longer on the air broadcasting liberal I suspect. Just my opinion, that theory is Not based on fact) would call him “Governor Good Hair.” I do not know where this moniker “Governor Good Hair” originated from and I’m uncertain if it is a compliment or an insult. But I suspect it an insult as one should generally distrust men with “good hair.”

Case in point: John Edwards former 2008 presidential candidate…He has good hair and he turned out to be Distrustful to the extreme. (Baby Mama drama). My opinion here…Never trust a politician or a man with good hair. Good Hair in this context meaning perfectly coiffed hair. I know the term “Good Hair” has a different meaning in the African-American community.

Also never trust a man who is too good looking. I mean Denzel Washington good looking. I’m overgeneralizing here…but good looking men know that they don’t have to try harder …to woo a woman. Generally speaking, I believe, that a woman should make a man woo her or as the old term goes “court her” (give her flowers, candy, cards, etc. Those things reserved for Valentine’s Day) so she knows he’s trying harder.

But that’s an article for another day. And I digress.

I have been listening to Governor “Good Hair” Perry and most of the other 2012 presidential contenders and some of these contenders use such phrases, or as I like to call it…Bumper Sticker rhetoric” “Take Back America.” (Back From where and where did it go?). For once I would like a politician who uses these types of generalities and/or phrases to explain exactly what He or She means by “Take Back America”

I think politicians use such language to differentiate between Us versus Them. I am defining the term “Us” as being a group of like minded individuals or simply put…individuals that think like me. And if you don’t think like me or “Us” then you must be a Them. As Them don’t think like Us.

My theory is that America was founded, and sometimes made stronger, with the Us versus Them debate. Going all the way back to the United States Civil War…North vs. South. The debaters: People who wanted to continue slavery or as some like to call it “states rights” vs. those who wanted to abolish slavery. Who would prevail?

Those of you who don’t know the answer to this question need to run out and purchase an American history book as soon as possible.

The Civil Rights struggle of the 1950′ and 1960’s. The debaters: The old establishment who supported Jim Crow laws during its heyday vs. those who believed that all Americans, especially African-Americans, or Colored, as we were called back then, should have the same basic human rights and privileges.

Who would prevail?

Those of you who do not know the answer to this question here is a hint: If you ever go to Alabama you Are allowed to sit in the front of the bus.

The Us vs. Them debate continues to this day. Who will win? Who will prevail? You see there are currently many Us vs. Them debates going on across this great nation of ours. For example: Pro Gay Marriage advocates vs. Same sex only or as some would call it One man one woman advocates. Government fiscal conservatives, generally Republicans vs. Tax and spend advocates, generally named Democrates or Liberals. Another set of debaters are the Get out of the war in Afghanistan advocates vs. those advocates who want to “Win the war.” Win the war? What exactly does that mean. Please explain it to me!

Sometimes laws can be enacted to resolve the Us vs, Them debates, The Emancipation Proclamation, the 1964 Civil Rights legislation and currently the legalization in some states, California, New York, which allow same sex marriages. Thus sometimes ending the whole issue of Us vs. Them (North vs. South, Jim Crow vs. African Americans.) However one debate or issue will always continue, I;m afraid, and that is the marriage issue. This issue will remain until the end of time.

The Us vs. Them debate will continue. And what may you ask upon which I make this assumption.My whole theory is based on the belief that the Us vs. Them concept is basically a person’s value system, personal beliefs, individual philosophy or a way of life. Thus values can either be learned or innate.

I also believe that the Us vs. Them debate will continue as long as there are human beings on this planet called Earth.

Whose belief system is right or wrong?. It depends on who you ask.

But ultimately it depends on… if you are an Us or a Them?
I’m just sayin’

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I'm Just Sayin'


  1. avatar leigh cravin says:

    Great article. You have hit the nail on the head. The two-party political system is the number one example of “us” vs “them.” But, for better or worse, the rag-tag bunch of Tea Party folks threw a monkey-wrench in the “us” and “them” mode of thinking. Just who are the “us” Republicans now? How to deal with “us” vs “them” will be left to generations to come as I agree with you that the problem has been with humanity since the beginning of time. Dr. King mentioned living together as brothers or perishing as fools. As Rodney King asked, “Can we all just get along?” Well, apparently the solution is not as simply as the question. My African ancestors survived for thousands of years as various tribes that co-existed until you-know-who went in and realigned folks who had always respected the “us” vs “them” without the negative valuation of “you lessor” “us greater.” And this is the precise problem with “us” vs “them.” Too many folks think that differences must have embedded negative assumptions that they impose on anyone who is “not like us.” In the long run eternally there will be some “us” folks in Heaven and some “them” folks in Hell. Who’s going to have the final bragging rights then? Great article–a lot of food for thought.