is not one person in my life… no one that I know personally, that I
truly dislike. The
truth is, I pretty much like everyone I know.
But I do know
people who are somehow afraid of learning that some of the good
feelings they’ve had and have lived by, might have been
misplaced; that a great deal of what they believed in for so
many years, might have been lies or deceitful half-truths.
Some people are afraid to face possible tears of regret, to
face a possible deep sorrow for what their country cruelly has
done to other people, to us, and to our own children and other
Some people are afraid to face having to go to work knowing that the company
for earns its money by deceiving or hurting others; that the education
they got was replete with half-truths and important missing
facts, the underlying truth of which, if told to them earlier, might very well have caused them mental anguish,
pain, distrust, anger and sorrow.
So we were not told the truth. We became afraid of
the truth. And so we were never told
the truth. And now
remain uninformed, incomplete, and in many ways have empty
spaces in our very souls. Those
empty spaces cheat us out of what otherwise might give us wisdom and
centeredness. To know the truth, you have to seek it
out. That takes courage, lots of faith and lots of courage.
We all want
to protect our children from unpleasantness and in some sense
there is a part of all of us that has left us all in a way, still
children. We are
innocent and uninformed and at the same time--believing what we
were once taught, being still afraid of unpleasantness--we
presume that purposely avoiding unpleasantness somehow makes us more innocent.
But that fear of
the truth results--when combined with the same fear in the
rest of us--in the death, destruction, impoverishment, and
great suffering of peoples who never deserved and don't
deserve to be
treated that way, yet continue to be treated that way, because
there's not yet enough of us to stand up and stop it.
We also need
to ask for forgiveness for the wrongs that we/our country have
inflicted on others. We
are incomplete in ourselves to the extent that we never do
want to ask for that forgiveness. But how can we
honestly ask for forgiveness before we realize and understand what part we played in
causing others so much pain and suffering.
By the end of
the Vietnam war, more than 58,000 of our soldiers had died
there. But then later...
some estimates, the number of Vietnam vets who have
committed suicide has exceeded the 58,000-plus who died in
What those soldiers saw and did there they could not
reconcile with the reality of how we think and how we live
here… all of us being so unaware of what we allowed our
leaders to do in our name that defiles our national soul.
Three to four million Vietnamese and others died in that war...
and like our vets, for no good reason whatsoever. The devastation we caused cannot be described here.
whose son came back from the Vietnam War said, "I gave
good boy and they sent me back a murderer."
Not every soldier experiences the same war.
Some witnessed great bravery and heroism amongst their
fellow soldiers and amongst their so-called enemy as well.
Many faced great hardship in these far off places. Some sat at
desks or serviced planes or piloted boats and had no more
understanding than those of us back home what our military and
civilian leaders were up to, what the total
Most followed orders without thinking what the
consequences of their actions might be, for they were trained
not to think about such things. Most weren't qualified to
think about such things. But I am not talking just about the Vietnam War.
That is just one example out of many... too many.
every American will know the truth about the good things and
the awful things our country has done and as for the awful
things we are still doing, one day most of us will leave our
homes and stand out in the street to let every other American
know that we too know what our neighbors know.
And orders might very well be given to officers or
soldiers by a frightened
government to aim their guns and shoot at us for daring to stand out in
the street like that... we thousands, or tens of thousands,
or millions of people. But those receiving the orders will not
fire their weapons; they will lay them down because they too will now know, that their
families know, that we have all been betrayed and we will not
be betrayed, nor will we betray anyone else, any longer.
have to fight anyone… we only have to know in our hearts
what the truth is, who we are, where we come from, and
what we stand for.
recommend to you the following
two books. Both
must be read. Though
the titles sound the same, they deal with different but
important facts and realities:
History of the United States by Howard Zinn
History of the United States by Oliver Stone
addition to these two books there are now hundreds of books,
articles, videos, and other communications that have been published from which you
can choose, including some that I have written.
A lot of other writings and authors can
help you understand what you must understand if you want to
know your country’s past and the part that
it has played, and is still (often insanely) playing in world, national, and local
affairs. Our country's
past is our past, the part our country played is the part we
played. We are our country.
Some of what
you read might make you angry; maybe even angry with me for
bringing all this up. I
don’t know. But
whatever you experience, I hope that you will have the courage
to seek the truth wherever it might take you.
If you do what I suggest with integrity, it will probably be the most difficult thing you have
ever done. It was
and still is for me. Share
what you learn with others that others might be freed of
disillusionment and misunderstanding.
In the end, I
suggest that you will also have to face this challenge:
to not only forgive yourself and others for what you/they
once did or did not do or did not understand, but to take responsibility for
your own humanity by being appropriate to what you now know,
and who you are, who you have become.
wish for you peace and happiness... truth, honor and dignity,
compassion, courage and love.