Labeling someone else--or a group of "someone elses"--as "The Enemy" is a very powerful tactic. It makes things black and white, cut and dried, and a point of fact.
And as a matter of fact, others are very, very wrong at times.
But they see themselves as absolutely right, and you as very, very wrong. And we know this is true. For example, the best villains always have a very compelling reason for doing what they are doing. They, while we recognize their error, firmly believe they doing the right thing.
So how do two people (or groups) who are ideologically 180° from each other get anywhere? This is, I think, the fundamental question that--until answered--leaves us with things like opposing political parties and varying religious views (or lackthereof). This reality is one of the primary reasons we can't just "live and let live"... because, in many cases, doing so would be detrimental to others whom we care about. For instance: Pro-choicers believe that letting Pro-lifers have their way will end up killing women and has little to do with babies. Pro-lifers, on the other hand, believe that letting Pro-choicers have their way kills babies and has little to do with women. That's radically different and there is very little room for "common ground" here.
Another example of "The Enemy" mindset that I saw again and again today was The Department of Homeland Security's latest "report" that labels "those that [reject] federal authority in favor of state or local authority" as, at the very least, potential terrorists (bottom of Page 2 of 9).
I couldn't find a link to the .pdf from the Department of Homeland Security's site, but I did find this note. So, perhaps those "rightwing extremists" are over-reacting a tad to what is not much more than a very poor choice of words... perhaps.
This "Enemy" mentality has been brewing in various areas of the homeschool movement as well.
So what should we--as rational, intelligent, educated, truly caring people--do in these kinds of situations? Broadly labeling everyone of the other side as "The Enemy"--as the DHS appears to have inadvertently done--is not the way to go.
But what is? Because, as rational, intelligent, educated, and truly caring people, we can't do nothing.
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father