There’s an old joke saying there are only two types of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.
You can change the nationality, ethnicity or gender to whatever you like, but the result is the same, dividing the world up into “Us” and “Them.”
We’ve had ongoing examples of the dangers of that kind of thought the past few years, especially over the last couple of months as the world watched U.S. President Donald Trump whip his supporters up into a frenzy about how “Them,” in the form of a caravan of migrants, was coming to swarm over the U.S. southern border and invade.
That fear of the other reached a fever pitch a few days ago, when a group of the migrants, frustrated at the slow processing of asylum claims, cut a hole in the border fence and tried to come through.
Granted, that wasn’t a good idea, but the horrific use of tear gas and pepper spray on tired men, women and children was severe and unconscionable. This was the act of a brutal dictatorship, not a country that once declared “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The whole situation could have been handled so much better if, instead of spreading fear about these migrants, plans were made to treat them fairly. Instead of deploying 15,000 troops, aid workers could have been sent, judges recruited to speed up the processing of claims, along with health care and food, so that if people did have to be turned away, at least it would be with a full stomach.
It’s time to retire the old joke about two kinds of people, and replace it with a simple statement: there is only one kind of people, Us.