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America's spiritual needs

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I recently exchanged e-mails with a large number of people in NJ who had a particular religious affiliation and considered themselves peace activists. A number of people infiltrated the list who supported militarist policies against Iran.

An Iranian woman left the list after expressing her dismay with the suggestion that we nuke the Iranians if they don't comply with our demands regarding their nuclear program.

I responded to her and to all Iranians, Europeans, Moslems, South Americans and others trying to engage in rational discourse with Americans as follows.

Your frustration with the other people on the mailing list is quite understandable; now you have experienced first-hand what leaders and students have to deal with when negotiating or even expressing themselves to Americans.

Apparently we have developed a belief that freedom excuses us from responsibility.

We seem to have the belief that we may express any opinion that we wish without any concern for the consequences of acting upon such an opinion.

Either that or we are really so disconnected from power and effectiveness that we can say anything because there is no fear that anyone will act upon it.

Either way, you have now encountered the bad side of the expressiveness and freedom that American self-expressiveness and individual liberty have created.

What is the antidote?

I must sound like a broken record, as it is the same as my answer to everything else.

People must be empowered.

If Jonathan van Allen (pseudonym used to protect the guilty), or whoever it was, really could cause the death of an Iranian, he might well be more careful with his threats.

If he were to stop and think of how having our colossal military, combined with our arrogant chauvinism creates a huge threat to the other people in the world, he might be more careful in his thinking.

If he believed that as a taxpayer and citizen he could chip away at our military establishment and help others in his community trade, communicate and interact with others, he might actually create something worthwhile in his life.

This is a stereotypical view, but it is also apparent from his writing, that he has no deep connections with nature, the spiritual side of life or the people around him.

Instead, he is obsessed with a mortgage, entranced by his toys and estranged from family, community and friends by his materialism.

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Robert Chapman is greatly interested in developing political awareness among as many people as possible.
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