We live in a land of privilege. Yes, we do. When invoking the royal prerogative, we suddenly imbue the power of the collective. Our voice now represents many. Our countenance now reflects the posture of the masses. We is the spokesperson for the movement, generation and family. We is the “one” that will speak for all. But, who appointed us we? Was there an interview, a standardized test, or an arm-wrestling competition? Probably not. On this one, perhaps the most important we of all, one must only claim unity first.
We columnists (actually, a reader rightly pointed out that it, at times, should be “us” columnists) do it all the time – assert a position and hold that it represents the reasoned view of all sentient beings. But other than ego and an unremarkable understanding of the body politic, is the prerogative defendable? Or, is it all just a keen sense of observation – or, more concernedly, an unabashed drive to the first-mover advantage?
Political leaders routinely claim to be we. “We have suffered that” is unabashedly linked to “We all, every one of us, think that.” Maybe. When we means our community, what is it to which we are condemning others? Is it clear that we know best?
Left or right, we is the hobgoblin of the docile set – happy to follow the lead of someone else’s directive. Good. It is much easier than thinking, and it is considerably much easier than defending a decidedly not we position. “We are not amused” bellowed the Queen of Hearts scolding poor Alice. She may have been right. How dare the minion think on her own when we had spoken. Today, the Sunday talking heads question the nuanced importance of the Founder’s “individual.” Is that we really me? Do we care? We’d guess not.