They Didn’t Seem Human

I recently became aware of the true danger of writing off other people because they have different views than me. Dismissing the value of your neighbor–who might be the very person who would rescue you in a fire–just because he voted for a political party you believe is harming our planet—carries an existential threat to our very species.

I realize how profoundly I had been infiltrated by a way of looking at my fellow human beings; only some of whom are worthy of a place on Planet Earth, while, for the good of the world, others should be beamed up to a waiting space ship and never seen again.

The pandemic continues to sweep across Planet Earth, taking new forms in its drive to keep its own place in the biosphere. Could we be lucky enough that those who aren’t willing to act for the common good will be swept away? But karma clearly doesn’t work like that. You can snatch bread from the mouths of children and continue to eat cake in your cliffside mansion.

Polarizing thoughts had settled into my mind so deeply that almost everyone I meet seems willing to destroy our world. I found my pastor’s sermon this morning alienated me, and as I went through the hand-shaking ceremony that follows each service, I told him that I would no longer be attending. He asked if we could meet in a room upstairs from the main sanctuary before I left. So, I poured myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a donut, and climbed the stairs.

There were three men already sitting there, and I immediately felt comfortable because they were among the few with whom I agree politically. I smiled as I took a seat in the circle. Surprisingly, none of them smiled back. They looked at me with intense indifference. They didn’t look away until the pastor entered, closed the door, and took a seat. Then all four, as if one, turned to me.

I couldn’t move from my chair. A fear that made my bowels want to vacate, so that I could flee like the wind, held my limbs as if cinched by plastic ties. Like a butterfly pinned to a cork board–whose colorful wings are of greater interest than the capacity of flight they once possessed–I felt chilled to the depths of my being.

My final memory was of four mouths opening and a silent screeching, joined in overpowering unison, penetrating my consciousness.

Political beliefs no longer hold any power over me. My single purpose is to convert every human being into one of us so that the planet can be cleansed of the waves of opinion that have contaminated it. I am so much better off–now that I march in unison with those who never utter a word with which I don’t completely agree. It is a privilege to be part of a future that beckons the human race, a future in which everyone works together for the common good.

3 comments to “They Didn’t Seem Human”
  1. I knew (or thought I did) that you don’t attend a church, so I didn’t totally understand this. I try very hard not to let an individual’s political or religious views separate them from me. It is an uphill struggle at times, but I have friends of many religions (and none) and many positions on the political spectrum,

  2. Wonderfully written as always. I watched a Ted talk about the “Others” and it’s about how we treat people not like us- different politically etc. I think about it all the time and your piece reminds me of “othering” people. I’m trying to be better about it. But it’s hard. I’ve thought about animals and art and thinking about how they “other” each other. Any-who- thank you for sharing

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