One thing that I find interesting is that how you can turn someone from being faceless to being human through details. For example, if you know that I think of myself as “pro-China” then I’m one of “them” or one of “us” depending on your politics. But lets add a few facts. I’m a Buddhist that was raised in the American South as a Southern Baptist. The narrows the field down. Because I’m a Buddhist, I am a vegetarian but I used to eat lots of beef brisket. I drink a lot of Lemon-flavored diet Snapple tea and I have a Samsung Blackjack cell phone with a broken power adapter plug which is the most annoying piece of #@$#@ I’ve seen.
At that point, you’ve probably narrowed me down to one person on the planet, and that’s only about six or seven facts about myself, and there are probably another million set of facts and beliefs that define who I am. So I’m no longer one of “us” or “them” but an actual human being.
The trouble with political discussions is that people very quickly become “us” or “them” and people start arguing with abstractions. However, to really understand what makes a person tick, you really have to get into details. I’m sure that there is some relationship between the fact that I was raised a Southern Baptist and my views on Tibet. The trouble here is that there is trade-off, in that at some point there is a limit to how well I really want you to know me. There is a cost in being anonymous in that I can’t explain fully why I believe what I believe, and part of the balance is to say enough about myself is that I appear someone reasonable, but at the same time not to say anything too private about myself, so it’s balance between being a “we” and being a ‘me.”