We and They. Us and Them. Do you ever struggle with proper usage of these words? We and They are generally used as subject pronouns (We went to the ballpark.... They lost the game.) Us and Them are generally object pronouns (She shared her popcorn with us.... I gave the extra tickets to them.)
We is the nominative plural of I. They is the nominative plural of he, she, and it. Us is the objective case of We. Them is the objective case of They. English grammar and composition. Boring stuff.
One of my favorite records in my music collection is the 1973 Pink Floyd album, "The Dark Side of the Moon." One of the tracks, written by Richard Wright and Roger Waters, is titled "Us and Them."
The opening lyrics say:
"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."
The meaning of the lyrics are generally accepted to be about war. Two sides to the conflict divided as "us " and "them" when, in fact, both sides are comprised of "ordinary men." And the song eludes to the fact that no one in their right mind would ever deliberately choose war over some other remedy.
I guess it has always been Us and Them. Not just in reference to war. But also human nature.
When we say the word "us" in day-to-day conversation, we usually just mean more than one person with something in common. "Meet us for dinner at Carrabba's." (That actually sounds like a pretty good idea!) Us. You know... US!
But when we talk politically, religiously, culturally... well, then "Us" or "We" takes on a completely different meaning. Here's where we start to divide the goats from the sheep.
Have you heard this lately?
"Look what is happening to Us."
"We shouldn't have to put up with this."
"We want things to be the way they used to be. (For Us.)"
"This country belongs to Us."
"We don't believe that."
When there is an Us or a We....there is inevitably a Them or a They that is being silently referenced.
"Look at what They are doing."
"Why don't you ask Them?"
"Do you know what They believe?"
"They started it."
"They are trying to take over."
Maybe there is not a traditional war being fought right now like World War II where the good guys (Us) are fighting against the evil axis powers (Them) but... make no mistake... we are at war in the United States right now. Watch the news. Read the paper. Go on social media (it's not so "social" right now... btw)
We are at each other's throats.
The Supreme Court says that same sex couples should be allowed to marry. So it's Us and Them.
A Confederate flag was taken down in Columbia, SC. So it's more Us and Them.
You wanna pick a fight? Are you angry? At who? THEM?
Our foundational document in the Library of Congress starts with the word "We."
"We the People of the United States..." That's us. All of us.
"...in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States."
How are WE doing these days? How are YOU doing regarding these things?
a more perfect Union...(union means the state of being united)
promote general Welfare
secure the Blessings of Liberty
We've got way too much Us and Them right now.
Maybe we all should walk in the shoes of "Them" for a little while and see if maybe we have more important things in common than what we are disagreeing on.
Maybe we are all supposed to be Us.
I think I'll listen to my Pink Floyd album for a while.