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The American People Are Not Sheep

By Mark A. Goldman                                                         Dated:  8/9/2013

There 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 relatives.  

Some people are afraid to face having to go to work knowing that the company they work 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 we 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...

"By some estimates, the number of Vietnam vets who have committed suicide has exceeded the 58,000-plus who died in combat." 2

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.

One mother whose son came back from the Vietnam War said, "I gave them a 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 picture was.  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.

One day, 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.  

We don’t 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.

Let me 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:

      1:  A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
      2:  The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone 
           and Peter Kuznick

And in 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.

I wish for you peace and happiness... truth, honor and dignity, compassion, courage and love.


On Citizenship

On Following Orders

About the Truth

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