If we were able to look at our own team with introspection equal to our criticism of the other side, we would recoil in humility.
Most of us are only willing to go so far: to ask questions of others, but not of ourselves; to delve into the histories of others, but not our own; to interrogate the impact of politics on another’s path, but not its impact on ours.
Most of us can recount in intimate detail the faults of our enemies. But to look back at the wrongs of our side: no, we will turn away. We won’t open that box. Loyalty to the community, the tribe, the school, the sect, the scholar, the nation, the family: all of these take precedent over truth and justice.
In place of introspection, we subscribe to tradition: to what has been passed down to us. We will not ask if that tradition has been embellished along the way; if bitter conflict took anything away from it; if in the forging of empires and dynasties, folk legends took hold; if in the face of military onslaught, great narratives of identity replaced individual piety.
To ask questions about the past can be a painful process. Most of us would decide against it, opting not to expose ourselves to such discomfort. We’re happy with our comfortable narrative: of our rightness, and of the wrongness of others.
And so on we go… incessantly repeating all that is wrong with the other—with our enemies and opposition. No introspection. A wise parable unrecalled. It’s difficult to see the faults in your own team, when you’re its biggest fan.