US Versus THEM

Day 4,765, 17:06 Published in USA USA by Tyler Bubblar

More than 5 years ago Franklin Stone serving as Media Director for the SFP asked me if I would be willing to write a segment for their upcoming Party News Article. I asked if there was a topic he wished me to write on and I was told to write about whatever happened to be on my mind. So I chose to write about inter-party unity. 5 years ago the SFP and I were not exactly sympatico. They viewed me with no small amount of suspicion I was not just a Federalist but at the time I was viewed by many to be Mr Fed. This was never a moniker I sought out or encouraged, but it stuck nonetheless.

However at the time FS invited me to write for the SFP Newsletter things were beginning to thaw between the SFP and I. I had just finished up my third term as President and even though the SFP had been staunchly for my opponent BeachBunny BeachBro, I had followed through on Campaign promises of inclusion, transparency, and equal treatment. I had several members of SFP in my Cabinet and did my very best to tout their contributions. JA Lake, Illiguy, and Jaden. The month after I lost my rematch to BB, and BB proceeded to break virtually every promise made to garner support. I believe this is what really began the thaw between myself and SFP. I don't blow sunshine up anyone's ass, but I keep my word and do my very best to foster a diverse team. In truth when building a Cabinet I don't give a damn about Party affiliation. All I care about is talent and passion.

TO this day I still consider my third Term to be my finest,(though my 5th rivals it), I had endorsements in that run from 9 different Parties including BSP. They rarely endorse outsiders or serve in Cabinets. Over the years I have enjoyed their support several times and had their members fill key roles in my Cabinets. As an aside I would like to applaud BSP coming off the sidelines and endorsing CG for President. I truly hope that the membership of BSP stay engaged with the larger eUSA community. We need more players involved and engaged not fewer.

Which takes me to my purpose in writing over the last several months I have noticed shouts and articles from various members of WTP attacking the Federalist Party while also deriding USWP and SFP. Our three Parties are aligned in purpose more often than not. I say purpose rather than ideology because each of our three Parties has differing views when it comes to governing yet we work through them for the good of all. I will not speak for USWP or SFP, and in truth I can't speak for my own Party as I am one lone member. Yet I will endeavor to get across what I see the Feds being all about.

Parties evolve over time. Especially if they are about a singular or even several strong personalities and those personalities withdraw from prominence. Gone are the days when the Feds were known as Butthurt Hater Trolls. Today I see us as a governing Party. From 2014 to 2017 we worked closely with USWP and WTP to form a governing coalition. I am not sure exactly what changed that dynamic but today we work closely with USWP and SFP. When I first returned to this game in March Groot was President. Melissa Rose browbeat Paul and I into joining her in trying to help Groot on the domestic side of things. Others were skeptical of Groot and unwilling to help or so the narrative went. So Paul and I dusted off our SecMed credentials and put out the occasional fluffy WHPR.

In truth I think Groot did a good job for the most part as President. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. When I ran against him in May I made it plain if I did not win I was more than happy to continue to work under his administration. When I won it put an end to I believe 6 straight months of WTP at the helm of CP. Yet there were no articles published celebrating this. No shouts bringing attention to this. No we were busy firing up Orgs that had long gone dormant, reviving government programs that had fallen by the wayside and breaking the gridlock that frozen Congress from even passing a budget for months. Not to mention and impending wipe from Asteria.

Yet to read some of these articles and shouts you would think 7 months of oppressive disconnect had just been brought to an end. When in my view it is the opposite these last 7 months were a revival in so many ways. Obviously as much of the credit or blame depending on your point of view lands at my feet for this era I am a bit biased. I am proud of what has been accomplished in the eUSA since May 5th 2020. Yet this election was framed by CG and his allies as a movement against an elitist establishment. While I like CG and wish him the very best during his tenure as CP I just do not agree with that narrative. I would urge everyone to dial back the Partisan snark.

Formally stated, Newton's third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.

I am a big believer in this law in not just in physics but in interpersonal actions. I frequently quote this law to Management in my capacity as a Union official when they complain about employees "gaming the system" I tell them if they were reasonable in their approach the Carriers I represent would not have to go to such lengths to protect themselves from managerial actions. So here I urge everyone to settle down, stop attacking each other, and to paraphrase President Obama unclench our fists so we can extend a hand. As I said above I congratulate CG on his victory. If our President is successful we are all successful.

I would like now to share with you what I submitted to Franklin Stone way back in August of 2015. I believe it is not just still relevant but more relevant than ever:

In my opinion the strength of eRepublik is the community. We as individuals have gathered ourselves into groups. We group via eNations, Parties, and MUs. eRepublik advertises itself as the New World in which players can reinvent themselves. We can be economic Tycoons (allegedly), War Heroes, Diplomats, Journalists, Statesmen, and more in any combination we choose. In the real world I have been married for coming on 10 years now, I have 3 children aged 7,4, and 1. I work in a bank and live a modest but comfortable (for the most part) middle class life. I teach a Sunday School class for High School age teens. Here however I am a Federalist Party member with a long history of service there. I am along with many other national posts, a 3 time Country President, and I am known as a decentish writer. I have also worked and invested into becoming a moderately strong fighter. We can achieve things here that might seem irretrievably out of reach in our real lives. Yet in some ways I believe we are more purely ourselves here than we are in the real world.

You see here in the New World we are largely freed from the criminal and civil consequences of our behaviors. This in my opinion removes the filters of societal norms and mores. We take here with us our passions, opinions, and biases, but leave behind most of the constraints of the real world. One thing I strongly believe we bring to the table of eRepublik is the natural human trait of drifting towards tribalism. Party rivalries are not what they were, but in 2013 they were very much alive. The Feds and AMP had a more than healthy rivalry. This Rivalry eventually expanded to WTP. For a very long time you would see USWP and the Feds firmly aligned together against a just as firmly aligned WTP and AMP. Tribalism. US vs THEM.

Tribalism has been a driving force throughout human history. The forging of Empires, the fall of Empires, Crusades, race wars, and more have all in large part had tribalism at its roots. The Romans, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, British, French, Spanish, Germans, and American have all had the core belief that they and their way of life is superior to those of others, and as such have sought to expand their wealth, power, and influence. Often this belief in Tribal superiority has led to seeking to subjugate other groups whose base crime is originating from another Tribe of people in some way or another.

Humanity has a tendency to categorize itself into social groups. Often these social groups create an “Us vs. Them” mentality toward others who are different from us in some way. It could be race, gender, age, nationality, culture, religion, or socioeconomic status. Interestingly, studies have shown that people tend to favor a group bias even when they are categorized on relatively small distinctions: eye color, artistic leanings, or the mere flip of a coin. This illustrates that we potentially separate ourselves from others on any random or arbitrary characteristic. Therefore, everyone is a possible perpetrator and/or victims of social prejudice and ostracism.

It appears that thinking of ourselves in terms of groups automatically leads to a sort of group favoritism. In studies done on minimal group paradigms, participants are usually given an opportunity to allocate money or “points” to other participants, and tend to favor giving points to members of their own group vs. members of another group.
Even more interestingly, it has been found that participants will often maximize relative in-group gain (“Group A” vs. “Group B”) rather than absolute in-group gain. This means that participants are more willing to see their Group “win,” rather than have outcomes where all people end up better overall. In other words we will ourselves happily jump on the grenade if it screws over the other group. It’s fairly easy to see how an “Us vs. Them” mentality can be destructive to both ourselves and society. It is striking to think how susceptible we are to this mentality, even under completely random circumstances.

Despite all of this, it makes sense that we’ve evolved to perceive these social categories. During tribal times, it would be beneficial to perceive unfamiliar people as a potential threat, and treat them accordingly for protection and security. However, today many of these social categories and stereotypes are perpetuated by society, tradition, and culture. We see it all the time in politics (Conservatives vs. Liberals), the cold war era (USA vs. USSR), sports (Red Sox vs. Yankees), and other cultural aspects. However,at the end of the day a lot of this mentality causes no small amount of tension and antagonism.

Group thinking often causes us to act irrationally and uncooperatively, because we are more concerned about our group rather than thinking for ourselves, or recognizing other people’s interests and values outside of our own circle. We shouldn’t necessarily ignore these common differences between us, but we certainly shouldn’t use them to judge people as “superior” or “inferior” – or see them as a battle between “Us vs. Them.”