Last year we had followed quite a few elections. One was for Suriname's government for the coming five years, the other Guyana's elections and the other were the elections for the president and vice president of the U.S.A. At the start of this year were the elections of another institute. All four elections had gone differently, but the one thing they all had in common in my perception was seeing the "us versus them" propaganda.
I'm not completely opposed to the us vs. them mentality as it's a bonding experience and gives people a sense of belonging. In sports this gives the people rooting for a certain team a sense of pride after a win and after a loss there's a comfort in knowing that there are others who are also feeling the sadness. It might become a problem when the us vs. them mentality becomes a feeding ground for animosity, hostility and seclusion.
That's why I don't agree in using this divisiveness as a way to do propaganda. One might say "but its how it's always been done", but not because it's the norm makes it right. The fourth election that I had mentioned, was for a student representative in the board of directors at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS). Students from all faculties who met the requirements were permitted to enter the election. It was during the propaganda period that I had received a message from a candidate from "my" faculty, that we needed to vote for him/her, because he/she knew the problems that the students from said faculty were dealing with and would especially pick up those issues. I immediately replied that for me that was an invalid argument, as the student representative should be there for ALL students and not just said faculty.
I knew where the candidate was coming from, but to me that was a weak argument and I know students from other faculties and such a message was not inclusive to those students. I asked the "messenger" if there would be a debating round or if the candidates would have a caucus speech. I had even asked if they had a plan for the coming years, to see which issues they wanted to tackle or if they had innovative ideas for the direction of the university regarding students. I got to see none of that and that's when I opted out from voting, as I didn't know the contenders and I didn't know what they stood for or what to expect from them.
With this story I only wanted to shed light on how embedded this us vs. them mentality is in our society and it saddens me that we as a people haven't evolved to a "we" mentality. For decades the countries elections have been divided by ethnic political parties and it's still ongoing. Nowadays the parties have been somewhat mixed, but the power players are still of a certain ethnicity. And if it's not about cultural differences, it's an us vs. them between the left and right ideology.
I do hope that we as a human race could move past those differences; acknowledge the dissimilarities and yet respect each other for those. With a shift to a "we" mentality, the focus will not be on what is dividing us, but on mutual problems and on what we as a unit could do to solve those issues.