Sages through the ages have stated versions of this for centuries. It isn't particularly new. But it warrants another look as we Americans seem to be making everyday choices that don't match the values we claim to hold so dear.
Do we really want a world at peace or do we want to dominate the rest of the world as stated in the philosophy driving our present foreign policy? 1
Do we really care about all human life or are we only concerned about Americans, as appears evident from the news we subscribe to and the conversations in which we engage? 2
Do we really care about children when we allow so many to die from malnutrition and suffer from a lack of medical aid? 3
Do we truly believe all people are created equal or do we mean only people like us?
Do we honestly believe in the "invisible hand" of the free market when we find ourselves working ourselves to death to pay the debt incurred by obsessive consumption? 4
Do we really envision "joy to the world" while remaining content to live in a world filled with fear and hatred, mostly aimed at us?
Do we believe in a multi-nation approach to the world's problems or do we prefer to be "king of the hill"? 5
Do we mean what we say when we decry war crimes and crimes against humanity yet we avoid persecution for these acts by standing above the laws we agreed to uphold? 6
Do we want a united world federation that respects all nations or do we want to everything done our way? 7
These are but a few questions we can ask ourselves as individuals, communities and as a country. Once we own these discrepancies between what we claim to value and what we do, once we own our hypocrisy, we can choose which values to honestly live by, which values to put into action and either align our walk with our talk or stop bullshitting ourselves and each other. Then at least truth will be told.
1. See Project for a New American Century report (http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf)
2. U.S. news media and citizen awareness of Americans killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorist bombings, airplane crashes and other disasters with little to no attention on other nationalities killed
3. "More than six million children under the age of five needlessly die around the world each year, according to experts." BBC News
4. Lobbying by special interests, subsidies and manipulative advertising stacks the deck against free choices
5. Pattern of constant U.S. disrespect for U.N. policies, blocking global initiatives that don't suit "our national interests"
6. See Note 5
7. See Note 5