The United States treats people living in the Middle East with the same attitude southern whites treated blacks in the days of Jim Crow: we take their dignity away by denying them their freedom, their power, their basic human rights. We cheat them out of their unalienable right to life, liberty, and dignity which they otherwise might have if they were able to enjoy the wealth that rightfully belongs to them and not to us. We made their oil our slave. We steal their power.
Most Americans are as guilty as white supremacists ever were who ignored the pain and suffering of blacks while conspiring to treat them as underclass citizens, all the while pretending to be upper class and innocent themselves. White men and women took advantage of cheap black labor, the fair remuneration for which was usurped by a vast social conspiracy of fraud and deceit while refusing to lift a finger, a voice, or an eyebrow to acknowledge that the injustice even existed.
In the same way, Americans today refuse to see what is blatantly obvious to everyone else but them, as they painstakingly refuse to acknowledge that their government cheats and betrays not only the unfortunate people who live in and around oil rich countries, but even they themselves, staying purposefully blind lest they be trapped by the transformative power of becoming aware.
We look back and shake our heads in disbelief, that our countrymen could have been so callous as to treat other human beings as less than human. And yet, by remaining purposefully and consciously ignorant of our own government's betrayal of human beings around the world, we have become, (when you consider the carnage), not one iota different than they were. It's our very refusal to acknowledge what our government does in our name that destroys millions of families, steals their hope, and diminishes our own.
As I see it, our honor does not necessarily require that we protest in the streets, brave the cold, or get fired for missing work. We don't need to face rubber bullets, dogs, fire hoses, police batons or any of the new weapons our government has conjured up to disperse and dissuade us from making a ruckus in order to make a point. We don't need to spend a dime or stand on street corners and pass out leaflets. We don't even need to say a word. Basic human decency and intellectual integrity simply requires that we first open our minds and our hearts and acknowledge the truth when we see and hear it, and not deny it when others speak it. If we could just do that much, maybe we could learn to believe in ourselves again. And once we do that, I believe we'll know exactly what to do--and celebrate our new found self-respect--doing it.
The oil in the world does not belong to us. It took nature 300 million years to create all that was ever there and it took us less than 150 years to already consume half of it. What's left does not belong to us. It's time to change our attitude. It's time to change our behavior. It's time to be better than who we used to be.