What is the matter with those people? What is up with them? What are they thinking? How could they do that?

They’re not like us. You know – ‘us’. The people who think right about things. The people who take the high road. The people who work harder. The people who do things the way they are supposed to be done.


Thank goodness the lines are clear as to which side you and I are on. It would be hard for me to talk about this with you if you were on ‘their’ side. I mean, I could be cordial to you in a public setting, but we would never hang out together. Never be close friends.

It seems people are drifting more and more into this ‘us vs. them’ paradigm. Mini civil wars are breaking out, pitting us civilized folks against our less civilized brethren. In an ever more connected world, we are increasingly polarized.

In some arenas, it is playfully innocent. Cubs vs. Sox. North Side vs. South Side.

In schools, the line is often drawn dividing parents and teachers. Late start or early dismissal? More homework or less? Measuring growth through standardized tests or authentic assessment?

And what is more divisive than the realms of politics or religion? If you support the President, even if you don’t agree with all of his policies, you are railed against. Or if you speak out in opposition, you are a naysayer.

I won’t even touch religion, though I am glad to see more and more churches seeing themselves as part of a larger “Kingdom”, instead of being myopic and only focused on the well being of their own little turf.

So what side are you on? Do you even know?

For instance, I grew up on the south side of Chicago, so I must be a democrat. But I would be considered by most people to be an evangelical, so I must be republican. As an educator, I work along side amazing teachers, which must surely make me a democrat. But I live in what most would call an affluent northwest suburb, so I must be republican.

As a teacher, I must think parents are crazy when they picket for things like early release vs. late start. As a parent, I must wonder what teachers are thinking with some of the homework expectations that are heaped on my child.

As a south-sider, I must surely root for the ‘good guys’ in black. But living in the north burbs, I must have grown a heart for the ever-lovable Cubbies, right?

It is easy for them to call us names. Say we are shameful. Tell the press that our actions are disgusting. But have they ever asked us why we feel the way we do? Have they ever walked in our shoes?

I’m just glad the boundary lines are clear, keeping you and I on the side of all that is right, and good, and honorable. You know how it is if you are reading this. You’re one of us.

Not one of them.