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"That's not who we are?" Well, you are what you do, your actions speak for themselves

By       Message Michael Payne       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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How often do we hear those words, "that's not who we are", uttered in situations when Americans see or hear something extremely troubling or of a tragic event or action initiated by someone in this government or in our society; one that brings great harm to people in America or in some other part of the world?

We hear that phrase so often. It's like it's been embedded in our culture. It's kind of an excuse or a form of self-denial when we see something that is too painful to accept.

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Here's a quote that puts for the truth of the matter: "You are what you do, not what you say you do:" And as the title says, your actions speak for themselves.

Now, in that phrase of self-denial what is the meaning of the word "we?" It's America the country, made up of its people, this society, and the government. These 4 entities are actually one, inseparable. They are all responsible parties for doing what is right versus wrong based on the principles of ethics and morality.

This government, based on our Constitution, is to follow the will of the people and make policies and take actions that are in the best interests of them and this country as a whole.

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Unfortunately, that is not what is happening in America. Why is that? It's because the people have largely abdicated their responsibility when they, for various reasons, refuse to vote and become no more than bystanders who sit on the sidelines and watch as this government takes the country in directions it should not.

So when the government does things that are unethical or immoral this country 's reputation suffers and sometimes is stained.in the eyes of the world. In so many cases the people see it take misguided, irresponsible actions within this country or against other countries; actions that trouble them but they feel they are helpless to do anything about them.

That's when we so often hear the lament of "that's not who we are." Here are some examples of situations in which those words have been spoken:

The U.S. military has been using deadly drones and hellfire missiles in attacks on Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan for about 10 years. In the eight years of the Obama administration, there were about 183 of these missions. Under Trump, in only about two years, he is coming close to exceeding that number.

These attacks on sovereign nations are, without question, illegal, unjustifiable and a stain on America's reputation. Is that who we are?

America has long led the world in the sales of powerful weaponry, employing mega thousands of American workers. We can't employ workers to produce TV's, cell phones, appliances, and other major products, and have outsourced them to China. But we most certainly can employ them at generous wages to produce a myriad of weapons of war that are used in various types of conflicts around the world.

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After the recent incident in which U.S. resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents in Turkey, President Trump was asked if he would take actions against Saudi Arabia, including large reductions in arms sales. He was adamant in saying that, even though they may have committed that horrible act, that country was still an ally; and he was not going to do something that would eliminate countless thousands of American jobs.

The U.S. military is supporting Saudi Arabia in its cruel and vicious bombing campaign in Yemen by providing various kinds of weaponry. This tiny country is virtually being destroyed and many people are being killed. Is this who we are?

Mass shootings in America are an ongoing problem, they are like a plague that won't go away. They occur every so often, and nothing is ever done by our government to try to bring this situation under control.

Do we hear Americans demanding that something must be done? We do not, but after one of them happens, when children are gunned down in their schools, we often hear, "this is not who we are."

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)
 

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Michael Payne

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We need to strongly dissent, turn out in record numbers to vote in elections to remove incompetent, unethical members of Congress; and reject candidates for the presidency who think that this these kinds of government's policies and actions should just be accepted and condoned by we the people;that they must never ever be questioned.

Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 4:08:31 PM

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Janet Supriano

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Reply to Michael Payne:   New Content

Michael, I often disagree with you. But I don't comment because you get so angry.

But regarding this article, I agree completely. What is being done by our country is not me, nor most of those I know. (there are some Ooh-Rah! stragglers)

Re: voting. Here on the coast, my Democratic Congressperson is 100% bought and paid for. Voted Yes on the War Budget and boasts of working cooperatively with Republicans. There are no Democrat challengers in this election. Do you recommend I vote for him anyway?

I have age-related physicalities that make hitting the streets untenable. Experience has proven that letters don't change a thing. I get boiler-plate responses, if at all. And my reps push forward with the killing agenda.

I am not an organizer, nor a speaker. (tho' I've tried with friends and family, only to be pooh-poohed)

Other than trying to spread 'sunshine' when I'm out on errands, and sharing some money with those on the street or thru worthy organizations, what do you suggest?

ps. I am weary of feeling angry and esp. guilty for what is done in 'our' name with our dollars.

Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 4:52:05 PM

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Michael Payne

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Reply to Janet Supriano:   New Content

Janet: first of all I'm very sorry that you are having physical problems and I hope that your doctors can somehow relieve your pain. I know what that is like.


And I'm sorry that you feel that I am so angry. Actually, I have a lot of respect for many on OEN discussions. But, after 17 years of writing these articles, I'm tired of some people who have no intention of contributing anything of substance to discussions and only want to disrupt.


Now I knew that I would get feedback about my assigning responsibility to all Americans for policies and actions by politicians, presidents, and others in government that do all sorts of harm to others in this country and in other countries.


But when we look at Russia or China or Iran and other countries we think are threatening other countries or acts of terror or intimidation we talk about countries and we do not exempt their many citizens who totally disagree with their government but are helpless to do anything about it.


So if we paint everyone in any given country with the same brush and blame Russia, China, and Iran per se then why should we use a different policy for America? As I said we in America are all in this together, country, people, society, and government.


So, in effect, we are a single entity. And here's why we all must share the responsibility for what our government is doing wrong. How many of us condemned the Iraq and Afghan wars, the attacks on Libya, using drones in Somalia and Yemen that have killed hundreds if not thousands, our direct support of Saudi Arabia's inhuman destruction of Yemen? And on an on.


The answer is few if any and that is so very troubling from a humanitarian standpoint. We do not speak out against these atrocities, we do not protest as we should, including about mass shootings and the slaughter of our children in schools.


So I will stay with what I said in the article. Unfortunately, those like you are caught up in the middle of this government's policies and actions that bring harm to others in this county and various parts of the world.


Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 5:27:39 PM

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Leslie Johnson

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Reply to Michael Payne:   New Content

Michael, I don't disagree with you, but I am no longer a Pollyanna optimist.

I am a

- door-knocker getting people to go out and vote

- hostess, in my home, of phone callers to get the vote out

- volunteer to register voters the fourth Friday of every month in downtown

Fayetteville, NC (that ended after I moved to Florida)

- was in an anti-war march in Florida which had a pathetic turnout.

- the phone numbers of my Senators and Representative are in my contact

list and I call them, sometimes email them. They 'thank me', nothing

changes...

- called this number this morning 202-456-1111..it's the WH comment line

and they thanked me as well...but it will change nothing.

- and I donate to candidates country wide and I can't begin to tell you how

angry that makes me...and it's because of Citizens United..a misnomer if

there ever was one.


I am a child of the 60's. I was in school in Oakland, CA right next door to UC Berkeley, flower children protesting in Golden Gate Park and anti-VietNam War demonstrations...and they played a part in ending that horrible war.


What you, I, and many, many others are doing to 'change' things has been ineffective to a large extent. I won't quit, but I have about zero faith in the will of the people being honored. I'm glad Kemp is being sued for disenfranchising 53,000 voters in Georgia and I hope those voters get re-registered...I was in Florida when the recount in 2000 was stopped by Scotus 5-3. Our system (Electoral College) is a travesty. Neither Bush nor Trump got the majority vote...but just look at the fruits of those presidencies....


Apologies for my rant, your article was right on...but it was a direct hit on my anger button. Apparently my BP said 'get it of your chest' and calm down. "They" aren't going to listen to you, anyway....so much for a government for, of and by the people. I don't know how we get people back in the streets...we remain "the most well-entertained, least informed society" in the world....RFK, Jr. quote which, and I just googled and doesn't come up. Go figure.


Thanks for your post. Gotta go get my BP pill......

Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 7:52:48 PM

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Michael Payne

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Reply to Leslie Johnson:   New Content

I'll just say this; I wish there were a whole lot more people like you in America. If there were we would be on the way to "making America great again."

Sometimes I'm ready to just give up thinking that what I and others are trying to do is an exercise in pure futility. And then I remember those words of Winston Churchill; "we must never, never, ever give up."

When we stay the course we have a chance to turn this country in the right direction; when we give up then we are all done. We'll be no more than serfs and peasants kneeling before the authoritarians.


Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 10:21:53 PM

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Reply to Michael Payne:   New Content

A very good article, Michael. I too feel like Leslie and that I have for 50 years or so done infinite letter-writing, appearances at hearings, marching in different protests, pounding on doors to endorse folks like Kucinich, etc etc.

I ran against Orrin Hatch if you can call it that, given that I was totally blacked out by even college papers that I tried to post a letter to the editor in. And told to my face by the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune that he would not publish my letter that was in direct and appropriate response to an article discussing the value of being a senator.

I just pulled my name from running for a Federal Senator in Utah and, after months of contemplating this after I signed up as an independent and a write-in, because I realize a number of things, starting with not wanting to do a swan dive into the cesspool; and realizing that I could not seriously offer hope, given the realities of climate change, which I do not see at all as reversible, try hard as I might, and have and still do think about. I do not want to put myself out there offering false hope, and also thinking the best I might do will likely be not within the system, where the Democrats are the graveyard for people who seriously want to change things. I know we may disagree on that one but I'm fine with discussing it.

I don't like to wax biblical, and usually I don't, but I do like this one that I am quoting from my ailing memory, "Because they are fruitcakes. ye shall know them!"

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 27, 2018 at 6:27:55 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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America "At The Dawn of the 21st Century" - #TheCrimeOfAggression (i.e.,"that's not who we are").


NUREMBERG - THE VERDICTS - (Nuremberg Trial) A military cordon was thrown around the Court House in Nuremberg as the hour for the verdict approached. The first to be sentenced was Goering and later ...
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Bush attacked, invaded, occupied, destroyed Iraq, completely, "show no mercy" ("collateral damage", not to worry for Bush) including removing their own Government, but 9/11 "it wasn't the Iraqis" at all - 9/11 was "pre-planted explosives used at the WTC" (on Page 12) - #GrandJuryPetition #SignThePetition #ExhibitsIndex.

Submitted on Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 5:38:21 PM

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