Villains of Us All

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“Remember two commonplaces; things are not always as they seem, and the pressure of circumstances can make villains of us all.”

Christopher Evans – The Twilight Realm
As a writer, I have the fun of creating fictional villains. Jerks, jags, and demons. Dastards, if you will. But the creation of villains isn’t simply a writer’s gift. It seems our culture is increasingly polarizing. Conservatives are painted as greedy bigots. Liberals are colored as overspending pansies. Parents vs. Teachers. Employers vs. Unions. Police vs. Citizens. We’re polarized by race. We’re polarized by country. We’re polarized by age.

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I’m right, you’re wrong.

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I walk in the light. You hide in the dark.

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I’m a voice for truth and justice. You’re a villain, preying on the unsuspecting flock.

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Creating bad guys is a pretty easy task. And the more we can point out that they are wrong, the more it makes us right. They are the villains, and we, their prospective victims.

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This story-crafting process isn’t too difficult. You could boil it down to a few simple steps. Essentially you just have to point the finger clearly, so everyone else can see the villain, and avoid being their next victim. To unveil the dark side:

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Project Negative Motives – Articulate the evil of their motives, since you can infer them simply by the actions themselves. They do it to oppress you. They do it for control. They do it for revenge. They do it for money.

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Organize the Opposition – Take time to rally others to your side. You can’t fight this fight alone. There is strength in numbers. The more people that are made aware of your truth, the better.

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Ignore Contradictory Facts – There may be some information out there that might obscure your message. There are some voices that may taint your side. Just tune them out. No need to let them confuse the obvious truth that you are privy to.

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Neutralize the Middle Ground – Some people are sympathetic to both sides. They can relate in some small ways to each opinion. Don’t let these voices gain traction. Remember JFK’s warning that the hottest inferno is reserved for those who remain neutral in this moral crisis.

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Take Control of the Message – Grab the microphone. Take to the airwaves. Pound the social media. The loudest voice wins. The most followers / likes / views must vindicate the truth, right?

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There you have it. A quick recipe for creating your own villains. A few simple steps to point the finger in their direction. To point out the error of their ways, and the fault in their thinking. To point to the validity of your message, and the justice of your cause. Anyone can do it. No thoughtful listening is required. No real consideration for other possible viewpoints is necessary. No wasted time seeking truth, since you already have it by default.

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Follow these steps, and you can be assured of surrounding yourself with other like-minded folk, while distancing yourself from those who clearly don’t have a grasp of what is right.

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And what will be left? An increasingly smaller circle of those you can trust, and a divided house. Villains of most of us, and you alone.

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2 thoughts on “Villains of Us All

  1. Love your words and thoughts on this topic . . . I’m not sure why humans need to define themselves as us vs. them. Thank you for sharing in such an eloquent way – one that can allow a person to see undesirable actions within themselves without feeling provoked or poked at.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Greg,
    Unfortunately this is all too common. I recently posted a sign that said “We don’t have to agree on ANYTHING to be kind to one another.” I posted it because I see so much of what you described…vilifying anyone who disagrees with us. Thanks for sharing and making us aware of what can happen when we have an Us vs Them mentality.

    Jon

    Liked by 1 person

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