My Native American friends are saying, "Yeah? So what else is new?"
My Nam vet buddies are saying, "Same shit, different day."
My hippie pals are saying, "We’ve seen it all before."
John Fogerty - Déjà vu
I plead not guilty to the charge that I don’t know our history. Someone here recently called me profoundly ignorant of same for being shocked at our collective condoning of torture. I never said I was shocked. I’m simply disappointed...and disgusted. I so want to think that we’re better than this – not withstanding the fact that we obviously are not (as a nation at least). Still, I can’t help but mourn for what we could be.
The certain knowledge that helpless prisoners have been tortured to death in my name and that there will be no consequences for either the torturers or those who ordered it leaves me with a sick feeling deep in the pit of my soul.
Moby - Why does my heart feel so bad?
All of my life I have sought out and looked up to those teachers I deemed wisest. They were all peacemakers. They all worked against war, violence and cruelty. They provided millions with the inspiration and hope desperately needed to endure the challenges and hardships of their lives. There was much yammering about their lessons, but in the end few followed them.
We have our ways of dealing with wise men. We kill them.
I’ve always been in love with the ‘idea’ of our country, the America we were supposed to be – but the reality is a far different matter...and that should count in the ‘reality-based community.’ A clear-eyed look in the mirror is a disturbing prospect. Maybe that’s why more people don’t bother. In my opinion a lot of fluffy starry-eyed feel-good bullshit does no one any good. For a person often derisively called an idealist, it has nevertheless always been the truth that matters to me. Failing to admit the truth of where we actually are only contributes to our national cognitive dissonance and gives cover to the crooks.
American history is drenched in blood, greed and corruption. This is our true legacy. From the genocide against the Native Americans to the enslavement of Africans, from the reign of the robber barons to the bloody war against labor unions, from the unbroken chain of political corruption to our imperialist bullying of the entire planet, from the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations to the moral abomination of Vietnam, Iraq and Abu Ghraib – we have much to atone for and precious little to celebrate.
Until we take serious measures to finally root out the bone-deep corruption in our government and bring our war criminals and torturers to justice, please spare me the happy crap.
It is a sad but undeniable fact that our history has been an unending march of evil and the acquiescence thereto. All the wise men and women with whom we have been blessed have been unable to stem its flow. It is an astonishing testament to the resilience of the human spirit that through all the darkness and despair, all the killing, torture and madness that hope somehow still springs eternal...but we should never forget those words of Martin Luther King, "He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
Sarah Brightman - Deliver Me