Personal

Us, them … and me

But what if the "them" are us, we are the "them" - and we take responsibility for our own actions?

Them and us. Us and them.

And me.

Or another way of looking at it, why should I care about “them”, since they don’t care about “us”?

Or me?

Oh yes, the seeds of division and cohesion are planted early in our lives. By ourselves and others.

We grow up with this vague notion there is a “them” out there hogging all the good stuff, and a poor “us” who have to make do with what is left.

But what if it’s all about perception: the “them” is actually “us”? We are actually them, sometimes, and sometimes us. Depending on your perspective.

But really, “them” and “us” might be more usefully broken down into “you” and “me”.

Just people. Me and you. You and me. And maybe we can actually work together, as people, to make this a better place?

How often do we stop to consider that the big old world out there is actually shaped by our prevailing attitudes, or by a whole bunch of bullshit prejudices?

What if we actually took responsibility for our lives, worked on ourselves, and with others, to improve things.

Not sit back and moan, or wait for governments or “them” to do it all for us.

Because there is no “them”, and no “us”.

Just me and you. And you and me

Maybe if we did take responsibility, we might not feel so alienated from the world of them and us we think we live in.

Like the guy in Pink Floyd’s Us and Them.

Us and them

And after all we’re only ordinary men

Me and you

God only knows

It’s not what we would choose to do

You know the feeling, you pick up a newspaper and it confirms your worst suspicions: this planet’s a mess, ready to blow.

But never mind, Reese Witherspoon is really excited about appearing in Legally Blonde 3 …

The stories we read about ourselves and the stories we tell ourselves.

All stories. Fun, illuminating, but fake, really.

Us and them scenarios abound: the bad things in life are caused by bad people; one-eyed neighbours who always blame your kid, manipulative politicians, greedy bankers, incompetent local councils, heartless landlords hiking up rents.

Them and Us. Us and them.

The “them” that are screwing up my life, and the “us” that are fooled, fobbed off, or just plain fecked around

But, again, what if it’s just me and you, and we talk about it? Work something out. Together?

The other day I was listening to a talk radio item about how surging rents were preventing people from getting affordable leases in the places they want to live in. And this was happening all over Ireland.

Then they talked specifically about Dingle, the beautiful seaside resort on the wild Atlantic in stunning southwest County Kerry.

A woman was complaining how her landlord had hiked up her rent and she and her family had to move out and now couldn’t afford to lease in the town.

And Airbnb was the cause of it all, we were soon told.

Dingle is full of holiday homes and apartments, occupied by tourists or seasonal workers.

Before, the owners did well renting out these properties but now, with Airbnb, they can make in one night what they could make in a week before.

So rental accommodation is gold there and the price of holiday properties and apartments has shot up.

Oh those villainous landlords, screwing the less fortunate.

But then a man came on. He worked as a tour bus driver and owned an apartment and a house in Dingle.

Calmly he told the talk show host that, yes, he was making good money through Airbnb.

Because of the nature of his work he was in a position to rent out both his apartment and his property in the town for the summer.

He went on to say that he could see the two sides of the argument.

He also had friends in the town, he said, with businesses and their seasonal workers were finding it nigh impossible to rent in the town.

So, he went on, “Before, I could get rent of a hundred or two hundred euro a week, and delighted to get it, but with Airbnb I can get that a night, nearly.

“So, I suppose I am making hay while it lasts.”

The question we all have to ask ourselves, in that concrete position what would we do?

What would I do? You?

Would you take the money while the sun shines?

You have your dreams, your bills, your ambitions for your kids …

Or would you think of that poor (editorialising here, for emotional impact!) woman in the same town who can’t afford to rent and forget your Airbnb killing — however long it lasts — and give it over to her for a fraction of what you could get?

This guy with the properties is not just one of “them” and the woman without the apartment is not just one of “us”, the oppressed.

They are two sides of the argument. With no way of knowing how they would react if the roles were reversed.

Maybe the rental issue in Dingle, and everywhere else in this country should be a matter for the local council, or the government, to regulate fairly.

I believe these bodies should exist, and be vigilant and strong, to save us from ourselves, in a way.

To ensure that the strong do not take advantage of the weak, but also that the weak don’t try and take advantage of the strong, by sitting back and expecting things to always be “done” for them.

That it’s not just another “them” and “us” scenario. It’s you and me. And me and you. And maybe there is a better way to do this, a fairer way.

This is hardly likely to happen.

Without wishing to get political about it — which, of course, I am about to — our present government does seem hopelessly obsessed with the power of the ‘free market’, and how this should solve the property crisis or hospital waiting lists if only we could get conditions right for developers and entrepreneurs to do their rising tides lifting all boats thing.

For me, this item on the rental crisis in Dingle blows out of the water this simplistic notion of the faceless “them” exploiting the living, bleeding, suffering “us”

Or propaganda, by any other name.

We are the people who vote for the politicians and ultimately our government. The government that shapes our laws, or education, our roads, our economy and our lives.

I come from a town in north Tipperary, in the middle of Ireland.

Each election, a certain Michael Lowry (please Google him!), convicted of dodgy dealing in granting, while he was communications minister, a mobile phone licence to a man who subsequently became probably Ireland’s richest man, and for other shady dealings, is returned to our Dail, or parliament.

Often topping the poll.

He is seen as a great local representative, the man who saved the GAA (Again, Google!) in Tipperary by facilitating the Trip to Tipp music festival which used Semple Stadium, and put millions in local coffers.

I speak to countless people who while they know his record, will continue to vote him in because he is good for their area. A great man to get things done for you.

I don’t vote for him, but I also have no skin in the game.

Us and them. Them and us.

And me.

If you enjoyed what you have just read, try another one! Try them all! Seriously, follow my blog and you won’t miss out again. Thanks for reading.

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Mission Mindfulness

DIY Daddy

Shank You Very Much

Shank You Very Much

42 comments on “Us, them … and me

  1. Thought provoking article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoyed reading this! We definitely see things as we are rather than as they are x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Look at it this way – it could be worse. You could live in the US. Our president fosters an “Us” versus “Them” attitude. Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the way you write Enda. And such a good point made here. It’s easy to forget how much our interpretation of the state of play reflects our frame of mind. #triumphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah – them – in my part of the world, they’re different. Back in 2011, I did a piece – In a mad world we can be them, too – and it would seem that nothing much has changed since then. Yet over this side, when I hear mention of them and they, the comments are usually directed at or about my Jewish brethren. And, for your amusement, I just finished a book set in New Orleans where AirBnB is known as AirBnBad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AirBnBad? Love it!! There but for circumstance goes us all maybe! Sometimes and in some places it’s really hard to be good. And it costs one. Thanks for commenting Mary

      Like

  6. Like someone quite rightly points out, at least we don’t live in the US! #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sadly, politicians are corrupt the world over. We have our own ‘us and them’ situation with Brexit, where the only people who will benefit are the wealthy, many of whom – what a coincidence! – are politicians. Go figure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • True but ultimately my point, Clive, is we are not separate from our politicians. They are not a different species … They are of us, voted in by us and in that sense they are us. Too many of us are voting out of limited, ill thought-out self interest. And it’s very, very difficult not to

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fair point. We seem to get the politicians we deserve, don’t we!

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      • Unfortunately we do Clive. But it’s also not easy to find a way past voting out of narrow self interest. That’s where good local and national government and sensible intervention helps .. but then the cycle begins again .. we have already voted in the bad uns!!!😗🤗☹️

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Very good read and thought provoking X #triumphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It sounds as though the grass is not greener over yonder… And I thought we had it bad with our politicians… Someone please wake us up! #globalblogging xo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Afraid the grass isn’t much greener over in the land of the forty shades of that colour, Lisa, … nobody as obviously crass as the Donald, but we could be doing a hell of a lot better!!

    Like

  11. I was only talking about this yesterday, seems like it’s on a lot of minds lately. Something that’s been bothering me more and more is the lack of empathy I see and hear from people and the frustration I feel at not being able to affect a change in their way of thinking.

    I think the world is closing itself off into little tribes. For all of our globalisation the lines are being clearly drawn and that worries me. There’s an awful lot of judging going on and it’s unnecessary, unhelpful and unforgiving.

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m having one of your down days.

    PS I love the song Kodachrome, I don’t know why it just gives me happy feelings. Might stick it on repeat for fifteen minutes see if it boosts my mood!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So much of it depends on our mood, doesn’t it? If only there was a way for everyone to be happy and comfortable. Sadly that will never happen. Thanks for sharing with us at #TriumphantTales, we’d love to see you back again next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. viewfromthebeachchair

    That is a lot to take in on a Friday. #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Listening to Pink Floyd’s Us and Them right now! 🙂 Love your writing style. It shows that you have a big heart and you are concerned about the welfare of other people. You value equality and fairness! Kudos to you. Your family is blessed that you are their dad/ husband! #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?! We often only hear one side of the story or forget to think of consequences of our own actions. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Moods yes mine are like a rollercoaster and it dictates how I feel about the world. Truth is as you say it’s us and them always has been always will be. I love the way your writing gets me thinking about life but more importantly my own life. Yet again another superb post. The words jump off the page at me. Always left feeling I want more. Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I totally get the ‘Us & Them’. We are a kind of ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’ lot, but then everyone has their own moral code and compass which should guide them so that they can sleep at night. Sadly, some people don’t.
    #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow! As ever you make me think and feel both very good things. Firstly you reminded me of Ireland which does me good. Dingle was very important to my half-Irish mum and I am full blood Irish and have visited there too with an ex. In fact weirdly it was probably when in Dingle that I first worked out that he was not all he appeared to be. I digress. I have lots of rich friends through having a very good education because I just happened to be bright. I did not make it big partly because I wanted to help the poor and those without a voice. I like to think if I had made millions I would not have abused people but then sometimes I wonder if when you get super-rich you almost inevitably end up abusing the power it gives you. I have always rented and have many sorry tales to tell. At core I find it hard to stomach that people can have 2 or more houses whilst we still have people on the street. Thanks for this post – the more we think and feel the better we will be as a society #ThatFridayLinky

    Like

  19. Great read Enda. It’s an interesting point of view and I can certainly see how, with our own self central, it effects our views of the world. Which, of course, can change in a split second depending on a huge number of nano factors. All bubbling away. All vying for a space. It’s hard to stomach locals being pushed out of where they live, because prices are way too high. But then. With high price comes stronger tourism. Who benefits though? Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. It’s complicated right enough! Some are benefiting but many aren’t. Thanks for commenting

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  21. This really resonated. I am bipolar and my ups and downs really impact on how I view the world and interact with it. It’s a fecker but also gives me my wonderful creativity. As Steven Fry says it is the price I have to pay.

    Oh and I would make hay why the sun shines

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I love this Enda, it’s so true that when you’re placed in another person’s shoes you then feel empathy for their situation. We are all both ‘us’ and ‘them’, although we don’t always recognise it. I have missed reading your blog while we’ve been travelling the USA, this seems an apt one to return to. When I travel I discover more and more that we are the same the world over, we all fear what we don’t understand and we all do what it takes to serve our own interests. There are very few who can break out of this human condition. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hi Liberty thanks once again for taking the time to read my musings and making the effort to offer your always insightful observations. I think that’s maybe the role of government and local councils to intervene on the side of a fairer organisation of resources

    Like

  24. #thesatsesh I taught a lesson today on equality and equity…`i guess whilst we strive for either we hit bumpy roads along the way? I’m not sure, like the man suggested there is ever a clear wrong or right due to so many perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not usually … but somewhere I believe there is a role for government, local and national, to save us from ourselves … to stop the haves from running the show completely, to protect the more vulnerable .. Thanks for your very interesting comment

      Like

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