Originally published in 2007. I believe this one made it as a
Letter to the Editor in the local paper.
It is truly amazing and somewhat disheartening when I hear people complain about the lawlessness of today’s society and speculate on its origin. I’m truly sorry for the state of things but also disappointed that people don’t get it.
As long as those in control of the world continue to become rich and powerful by deceit, terrorism, rigged elections, and impotent media, how can we expect others, either individually or in groups, to conduct themselves any different? Combine that with society’s apathy and willful ignorance about what really goes on in the world and you have America today.
“If you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror” ( V for Vendetta)
When we stop acting like lawless criminals on the world stage, will it trickle down to our cities. ‘Lead by example’ is more than a simple platitude.
War is now our biggest industry. It’s all about power and control. If you read the definition of terrorism in the ‘The Patriot Act’ (2001), our government qualifies on most counts. To quote a recent bumper sticker, ‘War Is Terrorism with a Bigger Budget’. Terrorism is a real danger, but our actions do little to help the situation. When our leadership decided that Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind 9/11 (the FBI still does not list 9/11 on the wanted poster for OSB) and hiding in the Middle East, our solution was to carpet bomb entire countries. Basically killing generations of innocent people for the crimes of a few. We torture men, women, and children by allowing them to starve or die of disease, among other methods. We sentence future generations to misery by irradiating good percentages of the world population with depleted uranium munitions ( yes, our own people too ). Is this the solution of a sane population? Is this a response for a progressive enlightened society? It is not. We pay billions a year to have the most sophisticated and the smartest military in the world and this is the best solution we could muster for addressing terrorism? We have the best intelligence and military in the world, comprised of people who care about what America does in the world, what we need is leadership. The problem is not with the courageous people that protect and fight to keep the American ideal alive, it’s the power mad leadership that doesn’t listen to those that know, and cares little for human life and suffering. As long as killing large segments of a population are profitable to even a small handful of powerful people, it will continue. It will only stop when each of us accepts the fact that we have the strength and the character to be better. We should demand that our leaders start finding rational solutions to world problems; problems, for the most part, created by our lame solutions to past problems. Only then will we see better behavior in the lives of the people around us. Needless violence justified anywhere is needless violence justified everywhere. You can see where our solutions as a country set an example for the conduct of society as a whole. We won’t scrutinize the source of the problem because we will be calling attention to our national hypocrisy and apathy. None of this will make the major news channels even though good reporters everywhere know it’s true.
The idea that we should kill large sectors of an innocent population because of the crimes of a few is backed up by religious dogma, and is as morally reprehensible as holding one generation responsible for the crimes of another. Organized religion and its dogma have offered little in the way of practical solutions. The Ten Commandments offer nothing to address moral behavior beyond the basic ideas that existed centuries prior to its appearance. Prison populations are weighted heavily in favor of the pious. Black collar crimes grace our news everyday. As guaranteed by the Constitution, individuals are free to let a particular spiritual viewpoint guide their lives, but the religious and non-religious alike are expected to make sane choices. If you believe a messiah is going to return to Earth in the next 100 years to rescue true believers, I will defend your right to believe that, but you are ill equipped to make choices for a sustainable future. We need leaders that are capable of making difficult and unpopular choices, based on our constitution and what is good for the long-term future of this planet and all its inhabitants. If they can’t do that, they need not step up. We need to start using reason, reality, science, common sense, and our best judgment to deal with problems of humanity, on a global level and in our personal lives. Religion has had enough time and the net result has been abysmal. When will the killing end?
A few suggestions for setting a good example;
1. Killing people is not a solution to anything. If you can justify the killing of one person, you can justify the killing of millions. And so can everybody else. That applies to torture as well. It accomplishes little compared to the cost that it exacts from society as a whole. It’s a price we can’t afford, ever.
2. Stop making terrorism (war) profitable. It will never end unless everyone pays the absolutely horrendous price. Profit from war (permission to kill innocent people for politics) is immoral, period.
3. Criminal behavior must be addressed even at the highest level of our government. When political connections and money allow you to avoid answering for your crimes, we will never be rid of crime in our neighborhoods.
4. Stop filling our prisons with those that are simply in need of help with drug abuse, or are victims of the above (#3). A Lack of political clout and money should not be an offense worthy of jail. We are simply ruining lives for profit and political expediency.
5. Find a place on the shelf next to all the great works of literature for dogmatic religious rulebooks that proscribe death and misery to those that don’t share the same beliefs. It’s time the dark ages came to an end.