ERROL CASTENS: If only 'they' were more like us …

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

In our town, deeply caring people passionately discuss issues that affect our quality of life. Where “they” live, soreheads and nitpickers fight about every little thing.
• We like a bit of peace and quiet. “They” are antisocial.
• Our legislators who’ve been in Jackson or Washington since Adam was a boy are experienced statesmen who have a calming effect on the frenzy of government. “Theirs” are entrenched politicians who dig in their heels against change.
• Our church is open-minded and non-judgmental. In “their” church, they’ve cast aside all standards and decorum.
• Conversely, our church is faithful to scripture. “Theirs” is legalistic and hidebound.
• Our school has esoteric yet beloved traditions that bind us together. “Their” school has mystifying quirks that are inexplicable to anyone else.
• When our kids do really stupid things in a public way, it’s because they’re fun-loving and adventurous. When “theirs” do, it’s because they’re juvenile delinquents.
• Our Uncle Gus, bless his heart, is eccentric. “Their” Uncle Gus – ugh! – is just plain weird.
• The president you and I voted for takes a creative, outside-the-box approach to the challenges of governing. The president “they” voted for shreds the Constitution and stomps all over the law in his grab for ever more power.
• If we dress nicely, we have an appreciation for aesthetics. “They” are narcissists.
• Conversely, if we dress down, we’re just getting comfortable. “They” are slobs.
• You and I like to keep up with what’s going on with people around us. “They” are gossips.
• Having a spacious and comfortable home, attractive cars, and recreational, cultural and educational opportunities in abundance means we’re providing well for our families. “They” are simply materialistic.
• In more modest circumstances, we’re thrifty. “They” are a bunch of ne’er-do-wells.
• We enjoy a wee nip, a little thirst quencher now and then. “They” are drunks.
• We appreciate some gritty, rough-edged books, movies and plays for their insightful social commentary. “They” watch or read anything that feeds their basest instincts.
• We have rewarding, fulfilling careers. “They” are workaholic money chasers.
• We take care of our health. “They” are hypochondriacs or are trying to live forever.
• Conversely, if we don’t jog and take vitamins, it’s because we trust God’s providence. If “they” don’t exercise, they’re abusing their bodies.
• Our friends are vivacious. “Theirs” are loudmouths who have to be the center of attention.
• We’re confident in our opinions. “They” are arrogant and closed-minded.
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if “they” just saw things more as you and I do?
Errol Castens is the Oxford bureau reporter for the Daily Journal. Contact him at