I do feel like there’s an “us versus them” battle going on. Perhaps it’s something that’s been there since the dawn of time. Two sides of the aisle will always occur, and they’ll always find ways to be in conflict with one another. My idealism tells me that one day, those two sides will be able to work together in harmony. They will find a way to look past the differences, not squabble over nonsense, and locate the hinge points and find way to smooth out the dents together. The “versus” comes into play only sometimes, and is never the constant at the forefront. Differences occur, and they are resolved in unison, not unilaterally. I realize I could be describing a utopia to some, but I feel as though we as people always have the option of letting it play out this way.
We just choose not to.
And I’m starting to understand why.
In a fight, it makes perfect sense for you to want to back the side you’re on. You’ve collectively chosen your ‘general’ of sorts, someone you feel you can follow until the end. They’ve said enough to get you on board, their tenacious battle plans and execution of the formation lends you to believe they know the best strategy to lead us all to victory. It’s trust. It’s comfort, in a way. Someone else will shoulder the responsibility of the cause in which you so strongly believe in. And they do so with a smile on their face. They’re doing it to fight the evil on the other side of that portal to Hell. We fight with them, they just lead the way, and are happy to do so. It’s the path to righteousness as we all hope it would be.
But maybe they’re leading the charge right off a cliff. The door opens and we find we’re on a mountainside, with a thousand-foot drop the moment the door flies off the hinges. It’s a long way down. There’s nowhere to go but down. And as we fall, we notice Our Fearless Leader hovering above us, suspended in midair as they watch their loyal followers plummet to their deaths.
What went so wrong? Were we so blind as to follow a false prophet? Were we so desperate for an answer and a validation to our feelings we allowed a shyster to lead us off the beaten path?
Honestly, this has become a real possibility in my mind.
There are those in this life who I see and feel like I believe everything they tell me. They offer an explanation into my confusion and my queries about how the world really works. It often borders on trusting everything they tell me. I just don’t announce that to the internet. I take in what they say and go about my day. That is, if I don’t fall down a rabbit hole or two. But this unflinching trust I feel I have does tend to worry me. I barely trust myself not to order chocolate cake at 2AM on a Friday, how can I put my 100% trust into someone who is simply telling me information? I’m not sure. I still listen, but I reserve an eyebrow raise. I somehow put it into my head that this person is not leading me into salvation, and that they could have far more nefarious dealings on the backburner. It remains one option of many on the table. It’s the only way I feel I can protect all my bases, retain my own sense of self and keep from falling completely off the deep end.
And yet, something keeps me listening.
When I think of the evil ones among us, I tend to think they’re only on one side of the many dividing lines society has drawn for us. Pick one, I don’t care. There’s only evil on the other side. Not my side. Never my side. Except maybe probably definitely on my side too. Why wouldn’t there be? What makes me think I only pick the best and brightest? Why can’t I implement checks and balances for my own side?
I think there always needs to exist those who fall into the “necessity” category. They’re those who can be classified as evil or say and do heinous things. But if they didn’t make their presence known, we might never know they exist. We need to see all facets of humanity, the good, the bad, and the evil, in order to know what to avoid, where to step, who to follow, and who to dodge. I’d rather have the blind leading the blind instead of the evil overpowering the stupid. I hope I have enough sense in me to know when I’ve been duped. Luckily, my presence is so small and stealthy online I can grieve in silence at my own stupidity instead of requiring a public mea culpa to those I’ve helped lead astray.
At this point, I don’t even know if “one side” can “win” everything. All I know is I don’t need a heap of bodies at the base of the mountain. I just want the good to prevail. And good can’t exist without evil always waiting for its next opportunity to strike.
Is this just something we’re also going to have to learn to live with?