Acceptance 2 – I want things to be different! How can acceptance change anything?

It may seem paradoxical that change can come most easily to those who first accept “what already is” about themselves, about others, and about life. Acceptance is a choice affecting “right now,” this moment. Acceptance does not imply long-term resignation, settling, giving up or giving in, or anything at all that implies “forever.” Acceptance is only about “what is,” just at this moment,  now, today. Acceptance is the step that allows you to move past present pain toward other meaningful activities.

Acceptance is the first step, and perhaps the most misunderstood step, toward making the changes you most want to see in your life. How does acceptance work, and how does it bring about change?

Everyone has unhappiness in life, and some have far more than others. But heartaches and challenges are a natural part of every life, for nature is sometimes cruel, and all human beings are born capable of extremes of both helpfulness and harmfulness.

In addition to life's unavoidable troubles, many people suffer far more than others from the additional problems caused by their own non-acceptance of, or resistance to, what happens in their life. When anyone fights back against the bad things that happen in his or her life, the fighting back itself often causes even greater unhappiness than the original problems did.

Terrible things happen all too often, and many people suffer unbelievably difficult setbacks, heartbreaks, injustice, and tragedy. But in addition to these tragedies, many people suffer additionally a great deal, from their own non-accepting mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical reactions to the sad conditions that naturally occur in every life. Too often, what people find hardest to endure, is not the badness that happens to them from “out there,” but their own unrelenting thoughts and feelings of resistance and struggle and anger about whatever it is that happened to them. This continual internal struggle alone can kill you. It can lead to depression, suicide, high blood pressure, depressed immune system functioning, and it can make you feel like a crazy person.

Another way to understand acceptance is to imagine yourself watching a movie starring yourself. In this movie, you-the-star magically has no negative reactions to any of the long series of bad stuff that happens to you. No matter how awful things get, you-the-star serenely and non-reactively float above everything, smiling an angelic unflappable smile through all of it.

Acceptance is something like that movie. In one sense, nothing is different about an accepting life, because unpleasant things still happen to you. But in another sense, everything changes, because all your reactions–all the reactive mental and emotional stuff you do between the time the bad things happen and the time you move on to other things–are now very different.

Life's unhappiness could be divided into two kinds: the kind of unhappiness that feels like it happens to you from “out there,” or outside you–like a car accident or being kicked in the face or losing a job or a child or a war. Then there's a second kind of unhappiness, all internal. All of this misery happens inside you–it's your inner reaction to all the difficult events and people in your life. This kind of unhappiness includes most of your feelings of sadness, anger, non-acceptance, and every other form of resistance to what-is and to what-has-happened and what-might-be.

Learning about acceptance–learning to skip as much of the reactive/resistant stuff and time, as much as possible, when something bad happens, and move on as quickly as possible to something else, something better–is a good way to begin to make the changes you want most in your life.

Learning acceptance provides an approach to breaking the often-harmful reactive habits that follow along after the many challenging events in our daily lives, the harmful reactions that often create their own set of worse problems. People who are accepting have learned to process the difficult occurrences in their lives differently–more effectively and happily. Instead of pushing away or fighting against the negativity in their lives, they have learned to first accept what is–the bad stuff–and thus to move more quickly from feeling bad and back into productivity again.

Again, remember, that it's not only the bad stuff that happens to you in your life that's making you miserable, although we all get plenty of pretty bad stuff–and some far more than others. A completely secondary source of misery is your own personal struggle against the bad stuff–to push it away, push it out of your mind, out of your heart, to stop it from causing you unrelenting pain. Or sometimes, the struggle to analyze it, change it, avenge it, hit back at it, and other forms of non-acceptance and resistance.

Sometimes, of course, some of these reactions can be useful and appropriate. But many times, resistance is not only futile but persistently damaging. Sometimes bad things happen to you to which you react/respond in ways that make you feel better or that resolve the situation positively.

But too often, too much of life is spent struggling to prevent more bad stuff from happening, or reacting resistantly and defensively to what has happened. To protect ourselves from more pain, we keep pushing the bad stuff away and try to keep it away–from our thoughts, our hearts, our lives.

Unfortunately, resistance/non-acceptance/pushing away rarely works. As a matter of fact, non-acceptance tends to make things worse. People who are often non-accepting of the bad stuff that happens in their lives don't spend very much time feeling good. Sometimes they're so busy they don't notice the good stuff.

No one is perfect. No one will ever be as good or perfect or whatever as they would like to be. Nor will anyone ever get all his/her relationships to work as well as they'd like them to, nor do their jobs as well as they wish they could. No one will ever stop making mistakes, and no one will ever be happy all the time.

On the other hand, what usually does happen, if we keep chipping away at goals we want to achieve, we usually move gradually, step by step, closer and closer to achieving them. But we can't take steps toward a new “present” until we've let the old one go by accepting it.

The first step to making your life work better and to being happier, is to learn how to stop pushing the bad stuff away, to learn to stop resisting it.

What happens when you let down your defenses and accept present pain? Most people think defenselessness would open the floodgates to more pain, but actually the reverse is generally true. When you accept the pain in your life, you can move past it and on to better things. When you resist it, you're stuck.

Acceptance, non-resistance, defenselessness–all these are different words for basically the same thing–and each is very different from what is meant by resigning yourself to something, giving in, giving up, or settling. These are long-term choices having to do with the future. Acceptance is about right now, not about the future. It is something you do right now, during the present moment, so that you can move on to something else, something different–maybe something that will improve a painful situation. Acceptance is about this moment, while resistance is a long-term struggle, and resignation and settling are about forever.

When you learn to accept “what is” in your life, accepting whatever happens just “as is,” you'll get something totally new: real life-without-the-anger, real life-without-the-guilt, real life-without-the-resistance, life as it is without all the stuff you add to it–like over-analysis and negative thinking and upset emotions and high blood pressure. You can do without most of that when you learn to practice acceptance.

What you'll get if you don't learn acceptance–if you choose to keep on resisting pain, pushing it away, and fighting what-is–is just more pain and struggle, with no end ever in sight, and no real-life-just-as-it-is-without-your-big-emotional-reaction-to it, to live in.

Next: What does it mean to accept something?

Acceptance 1 – Feeling angry? Critical? Sad?

Are your negative, critical, or angry thoughts upsetting you, leaving you feeling sad, depressed, irritated, frustrated, dispirited, unlovable, and separate from others? I felt the same way for a long time.

I hope to share on my epharmony website what I've learned about the subject of acceptance, using a question-and-answer format.

I believe that self-acceptance, acceptance of others, and acceptance of “what is” are important first steps toward making the changes we most want to see in ourselves, our relationships, and in the world.

I hope you'll read this series to explore and identify the things that bug you the most about yourself, others, your situation, and the world. Then you can decide what to accept, what to fix, and what to leave behind.

I'll talk about why and how present, “in the moment” acceptance is different from long-term settling, complacency, or resignation. Then I'll explain how acceptance can bring about the changes you most want to see in life.

I hope you'll find support here for creating a more peaceful present and a greatly changed future, through learning how to become more accepting and effective.

And finally, I hope you'll share your feedback, suggestions, and contributions with me!

Why Military Recruitment Is Down. It's Not The War, Stupid

Used to, you joined up, camped out in the woods some, got to shoot up ammo for a few years with your best buds, and then you went to college free. It's not like it used to be anymore. Pay's pretty good though, I gotta admit that. A lot better than I could get anywhere else around here, what with the economy and all. My wife and kids need it bad. I wonder if I'd be a better dad or worse, if I stayed here, poor.

They sure don't give you much money for dying, though. That sucks. You'd think they'd pay the poor jerks who actually sign up for war, you know, willing to die for their country? You'd think they'd get more for dying than all those office types who just happened to be hanging around the wrong place at the wrong time on 9/11. Or the fat-cat contractors in Iraq. All that's so typical. Never trust the government.

My recruiter keeps on pushing me though, keeps reminding me that America needs brave, patriotic men like me to protect and serve all our ideals and values and stuff. I like all that shit. That is me, for sure. I could use the workouts too, all this work is making me soft. I don't know about the adventure and traveling to foreign lands shit. But he keeps asking me if I want to protect my family, my way of life. You bet I do. There's some scary shit going on out there. My recruiter and I talk about all that stuff a lot.

But none of my friends think I should sign up. My wife? She's not sure. We could sure use the money. But everyone's scared shitless if I join up. Used to, moms and dads pushed their sons into war, but with the TV news and all, it's not like it used to be. Sure, they support the war and all, but…well, nowadays it's pretty confusing.

Everybody tells me I'll probably die, be cannon-fodder is what they call it. They say it's just a bunch of old farts in Washington who never went to war themselves throwing American kids at all their problems. Like they care, it's not their kids dying. My mom says if I don't die on this tour, I will on the next one, 'cause they're never gonna let me out, I'll have to stay in the army forever. Because even the president says the war on terror never ends.

So what if I do join up? How am I supposed to know what to do? What if they tell me to torture prisoners? Shoot someone? How am I supposed to know which Iraqi I hate so much I shoot him in the face, and which one I'm supposed to die for, you know, to give him freedom and everything? If I could make sense out of any of this constitutional law shit, I'd be a bigbucks lawyer for chrissake, not standing here with my thumb up my ass. How am I supposed to know from Geneva Conventions? I'm a black-and-white kinda guy. All this in-between shit? I can't even decide if we're really the guys in the white hats or not. I mean, after you get all rigged up in those soldier outfits like the movies? You sure look like you could stir up some terror.

And who's gonna look out for me when I screw up? Which I've been known to do. They sure saved the big brasses' asses in that Abu Graib thing, socked it right to the grunts. Hell, they should just say screw this citizen-soldier-all-volunteer army shit and hire mercenaries and soldiers-of-fortune. Those guys know what they're doing, and they don't care who they shoot.

And anyway, that's what all those hotshot Brits in tophats did on the history channel. With all that empire money flowing in from everywhere? I guess the Brits were all just too damned busy taking care of their mansions and screwing their servants and stuff to actually go out and fight. So they just started a foreign legion. That's what we should do if we wanna send our soldiers out to every goddam nowhere place on the planet and save them from democracy, or whatever the shit is we're doing.

And screw the damn politcos too. One day they say shoot the sonofabitch and the next day he's sleeping in the bunk next to you, 'cause some fast talkers in Washington negotiated some secret deal. Now won't that just make it easy to sleep at night when I'm…old, god forbid. Not knowing whether I killed the good guys or the bad guys? Not knowing, maybe, even…which one was I?

And what about my friend Jesus? I was taught to do the Ten Commandments, but thou shalt not kill is all fucked up these days, not to mention love thy neighbor. And what about my mom? How can I honor my mom when I go off gallivanting and get my ass shot off? It's just not worth going to hell, if I, like, kill the wrong one, you know, like by accident? Shit. Watching all the war movies made it look easier.

I'd sure volunteer to defend my homeland, but the army isn't allowed to do that job anymore. I don't get it, how that's someone else's department now. Jesus. What does the Department of Defense do with all that money if it can't defend the homeland? Maybe it's that freedom-and-democracy-for-everyone-else crap. I like all that shit, I'll admit it, but I don't wanna get my ass shot off for it. But it's nice, you know, for the A-rabs or whatever they are? At least, anyway, for the ones we don't blow away while we're tearing up the place looking for bad guys. Sure was glad to get that bastard Saddam, though. And I'll admit, I'd like to help out all those big-eyed gals in veils, you know, save them from the creeps who slap them around and shit? My recruiter talks a lot about that stuff. But I can't quite figure out how blowing away their fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers gets the job done. Maybe I need to think about it some more.

Maybe I need to think about all this stuff some more. Maybe I just don't love my country enough. Probably I'm a coward, not joining up like my dad did. I sure wish I'd had a chance to get to know him before he joined up, though. I heard he was a really good guy.

Well screw it. So I'm a coward. I'll join up when they bring their armies over here and start shooting at us. Or maybe…. Who knows, maybe if American soldiers stopped running around all over the world waving their guns and ordering people around, maybe the terrorists would just go home themselves and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet with their families. Maybe if we just stay home and mind our own business, maybe they will too. Just leave us alone, like, too. Live and let live.

I don't want to die. My old lady and me, she's…well, she's great. We got plans. I'm not the lucky type. Sure as shit I'd join up and they'd stick me someplace really bad and I'd get killed the first week. They do that. Or worse than killed. Tortured or beheaded and shit. Or come home with half my parts blown off. I've see those crippled vets hanging out in the street. They don't get shit. Never trust the govenment.

Maybe I won't die, though. Maybe I'll get lucky enough to spend half my life in some nasty foreign hellhole whose name I never even heard of 'til I got there. They don't even get NASCAR in some of those places I'll bet, and the beer's all foreign crap. What is it about fighting wars that everyone's already said we can't win? What's it all for? I've heard stuff about it's for cheap oil, but I can't believe anyone would start a war over that. Who would be stupid enough to die for oil? Fuck this shit, I'm outta here.


Journalists Are Paid to be Biased. Some of Us Just Ain't Tellin'

Armstrong Williams isn't that different from other journalists. We all hide our biases. I have no doubt that someone carefully selected Mr. Williams over Molly Ivins for that job not only for his race but also because of Williams' genuine sympathy for Bush's programs. Writers are paid for their particular biases, not despite them, and often for their ability to consistently conceal them. News anchors like Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw build their careers upon carefully-preserved illusions of balance. We don't learn what anchors really think until they use their reputations for fairness to sell all the books they write in retirement about their pent-up biases.

The fuss over the bias recently “discovered' in the Pentagon's Balkan website seems a little silly in retrospect; it did, however, shed light on America's journalistic innocence, and clarified the legal limits of deceptive government propaganda. But of course that website was biased. Just as every other website is, along with all reporting in every medium. Every offering from the Pentagon is biased, as is every presidential press briefing, every word of anyone's testimony before Congress, every word from both parties, every story in every newspaper–in fact, every opinion on every issue that's ever been discussed. To be human is to be biased.

Writers with the most interesting biases are often the best-rewarded. A writer with a reputation for balance isn't unbiased. Fairness suggests instead that a writer has honestly and thoughtfully acquired a worldview which consistently informs and shapes her characteristic responses to, say, breaking news. Even the subject matter writers are drawn to reflects their biases. Like everyone else, writers enjoy being right; we just know how to be subtle about it.

Whenever I'm offered a statement or a “fact,” I wonder, “Sez who?” Most of us judge a story unbiased if it doesn't lean too far away from the way we see things, but we often overlook all the bias supporting what we already believe. Each of our unique worldviews finally comes down to who and what we choose to believe. There are no agreed-upon sets of facts, except perhaps a few scientific ones. The most robust worldviews are shaped slowly by open young inquirers who earnestly try to get “reality” right. No one ever gets reality right, by the way; but some worldviews do turn out to be more comprehensive or interesting than others.

In order to keep on living, we all make tentative assumptions, believe some “facts” offered us, but it's worthwhile to remind ourselves that nearly everything we think we know is acquired second-hand. The only thing we ever know for sure is that none of us knows anything for sure, because none of us has ever been everywhere and everyone, experiencing everything as it happens (that would be a definition of God.) An unbiased viewpoint on anything is an impossibility. Peter Jennings' perspectives would seem alien in most parts of the world.

What journalists/bloggers/pundits/writers can strive for, since objectivity is not possible, is to offer readers more of ourselves. As we strive like frenetic chameleons to adapt to this rapidly altering planet, we can offer our eyes and ears, our minds and hearts, our most honest reactions, questions, considerations, conclusions, and perspectives, all of which become, in the process, ever more unique, nuanced, colored, flavored, touched, persuaded, molded, bent, impressed, swayed, influenced, moved, convinced … biased.

Be Free or Be Right In America. Choose One.

Like his vision-thing, Mr. Bush's freedom-thing is a hard thing to get right. Hardly anyone in America really wants to be free. Instead, we'd rather be right–about our religious and political beliefs, our versions of patriotism, and our lifestyles.

We want our rights-and-wrongs black and white, settled once and for all, and predictable, with no raggedy-edged uncertainties. We absolutely must be right about our versions of elemental things: the Pledge, the Flag, the Ten Commandments, the Constitution. We must know with finality–Are we or are we not the good guys in the white hats? Is our country and way of life the best, as we learned in elementary school? What about our god, our church, our religion, our form of government–they're the right ones, right? We did and do fight on the right side in every war, right? We are the land of the free and the home of the brave?

We'll slash campaign vehicle tires, print misleading election leaflets, make harrassing phone calls to election boards, slow down voting, spread rumors of infidelity, lie, cheat, and steal to elect our right guys. Anything goes, it seems, for the right to be right about America on election day.

Americans love freedom, but we'll trade freedom, to be right. Speak freely, we insist, say what you want, write what you please, research any area–except, of course, controversial ones that question our basic assumptions about ourselves, our leaders, and our foreign policy, about history, values, gender and racial differences, about Jesus and Jews and terrorism, about the war in Iraq, and whether or not we're all turning into fascists.

As long as we can be right, we'll leave our loved ones and travel around the world to shoot complete strangers in the face beside their families and homes in the lands of their ancestors. We'll rain bombs down from miles up, upon exotic civilian populations–as long as we're right. We'll imprison, maim, and torture, if it's necessary, if we're right.

But Americans cannot be right and free at the same time.

Living in a free country means being right is up for grabs. Living in a free country means giving other religious and political and social and economic systems the same respectful attitude and tone we want to hear toward our own. Living in a free country means not insisting, or even wishing, that everyone else think and act like we do. Living in a free country means winning elections with no dirty tricks, because when you win that way, you're no longer free. Living in a free country means listening to all other sides, and supporting their right to be heard. Living free means working to be educated inquirers, and not just to reinforce the stuff we already think we know. Living free means accepting complex humanity in all its messy and glorious diversity, not hating other Americans, or Jews, or Arabs, or liberals, or conservatives, or Christians, or atheists. Living free means holding to and speaking out about our beliefs, values, and allegiances, without insisting on being right about them.

The road to this American freedom-thing may be a long and hard one for everyone.


Social Security Cheats Black People? I Don't Think So

President Bush claims that Social Security cheats black people because black people die younger than whites. Now whose fault is this? Whose programs make it harder for black people to live long, stay well, and prosper? Mr. Bush chooses to deliberately overlook the fact that the black population has historically benefited more than whites from Social Security. If Bush insists on playing the race card, he should at least get it right.


Gambling is already a big enough problem for black Americans. Now Mr. Bush wants us to bet our futures on beating an unreliable stock market. Under Mr. Bush's proposed new Social Security reforms, a majority of retirees will either go broke or become even poorer than they already end up now.


A small minority of investment-savvy winners, those lucky enough to die young and flush, stand to gain from President Bush's proposed “personal savings accounts.” Which leaves the rest of the black population twisting in the wind. Under Bush's plan, citizens who invest shrewdly and live long, would receive about the same old-age benefits as they do now, minus of course, all the previously guaranteed lifetime payments, cost-of-living raises, disability benefits, and survivor programs which stand to be cut under Bush's plan. This is reform?


How soon we forget how good FDR's great Social Security system has been for American blacks. Grandparents today enjoy a real chance for a dignified retirement, even when they've suffered financial setbacks and have been unable to save. President Bush's proposed changes to Social Security would leave the elderly even more vulnerable.


If Bush really wants to help black people, he can offer quality education, a living wage, universal health care, and lower living costs. Instead, he hands out “personal savings accounts” in a disgusting attempt to appeal to a few reckless souls who would abandon their race and put their own futures at risk in exchange for a kind of gambler's death insurance.


Because they are often poor, blacks as a group get back a proportionately greater return from their Social Security taxes than do generally wealthier whites. Blacks also benefit disproportionately from the guaranteed lifetime payments and cost-of-living increases which Bush threatens to cut. Current Social Security policy also minimizes the impact of years of unemployment, while guaranteeing support for disability and survivor benefits, all programs which black people rely on even more than whites. All in all, blacks have gained more than whites from the full range of Social Security's present benefits.


Bush thinks black people won't care if most of their people lose, so long as a few have a chance to get ahead. Bush has it wrong. Most of us would rather not win a long shot if our gamble requires that everyone else loses big. American blacks have had enough of that already.

Why Republicans (and Some Democrats) Fear Howard Dean

I’m reading everywhere that Republicans are overjoyed to welcome Howard Dean back into Democratic leadership. They were so heartbroken when his presidential candidacy misfired. They were so desolate that he would not become the Democratic presidential nominee. Dean would suit Republicans perfectly, they proclaimed. Good old boy heartland Americans will stand in line to vote against such a quintessential eastern liberal egghead.


Methinks Republicans doeth protest too much.


Republicans are, in fact, justifiably terrified that the wounded Dean has come back stronger than ever, and with a shiny new forum for his ideas and influence.


Exactly as they did back when Dean showed every sign of winning the primary, so now are Republicans screaming with one voice, louder than Dean ever did, in a concerted attempt to quickly marginalize and stereotype him before he infects America’s mainstream.


Republicans are rushing to solidify the impression that Dean the Scream and Dean the Extreme is unworthy of respect, interest, curiosity, or even a brief listen. (Such is American democracy?) In urgent unison they scream:  Do not hear this man. Do not read anything he says. Stop up your ears and avert your eyes before it’s too late, before you actually think about what he has to say. Don’t waste a minute of your time on him.


Because what Dean has to say will resonate with the rank-and-file. Dean’s vision is infectious, and it will shake to the roots the wobbly edifice of half-truths and innuendo carefully built up by conservative radio and television demagogues.


There are even some entrenched Democrats who have opposed Dean from the start, and for basically the same reasons: Dean is powerful and uncontrollable, in the way Clinton is. This doctor cares deeply, he’s comfortable with anyone, he thinks outside of predictable boxes. He unflinchingly speaks truth to power. He will poke unforgettable holes in Republican nonsense-as-usual, cut through institutionalized silliness, and from his bully new pulpit he will be heard. Dean is capable of rousing the rabble to their own cause, and of triggering a grassroots upheaval, He will help shape a Democratic platform that Americans desperately need, and will vote for in droves.


And that makes him absolutely terrifying.

What Social Security Is For (and Not For)

A teacher in my youth often railed against social security, so I asked an older friend why the program was so controversial. He had worked for the WPA during the depression, and recounted for me with teary eyes the long soup lines and the desperation of good people who couldn’t find work because of national economic failures. He told me that FDR had done a good thing, and that the real reason behind social security legislation was to insure that the richest country in the world would never leave old people to die in the streets, a tragic situation which might also foment revolution.


And indeed, a national or global crisis could plausibly occur again soon, arising from a number of contemporary as well as timeless scenarios, including disasters arising from war, terrorism, plague, economic uncertainties, and nature’s unpredictable catastrophes. During such events, many American citizens will be unable to provide for themselves. Without a reliable and universal social security program, our government will once again be forced to choose between stepping up and doling out additional taxpayer money to feed, house, and clothe the destitute–or to do the unthinkable and abandon their own, as capitalism’s collateral damage.


Social security has changed America’s face; today we see smiling seniors enjoying one another’s company for hours over McDonald’s coffee, where yesterday we saw gaunt haunted faces staring bleakly out of dirty windows.


Americans do not yet embrace FDR’s fourth freedom: freedom from want. Until we do, social security must simply insure that any American who someday ends up with too little money to survive will at least be able to get by. No one plans to be poor in old age; some of us are smarter, have more opportunities, more education, better values, are harder-working, bolder, more responsible, more talented, or luckier than some others. Social Security was never designed to give even greater success to those who already enjoy the rewards their own gifts and their country’s have provided. If the American people want to give everyone an opportunity to save, we should insist on thoughtful policies assuring a living wage for those who work hard and play by the rules.

What Are We Getting For Our Pentagon Dollars?

We have a huge Pentagon budget which pays for neither the costs of wars nor for protecting our homeland. So what do they do with all that money? To be sure, someone still needs to have the financial wherewithal necessary to protect and defend America’s economic and strategic interests abroad, as well as (on occasion) our heedless or haplessly wandering citizenry.


But America’s global economic and strategic interests could be far better attended to by a well-funded Commerce and State Department. Our citizens should stay out of countries where they’re not wanted, and behave as polite guests where they are invited. And if they find themselves innocently threatened? Well, that’s what the marines are for. Keep on paying them.


If America redirected just half the amount of funding we give to the Department of Defense to Commerce and State, we would all reap the rewards of wise, mutually advantageous longterm trade deals and proactive diplomatic dialogues. We’d be far less likely to feel any need to throw our unrecognizable, camouflaged firstborns into the maw of all those foreign hellholes we ourselves created by having a military budget so huge it dwarfs any other country’s tenfold. America’s primary diplomatic tool is a hammer. No wonder foreign countries all look like nails.


Which leaves us still with the necessity of defending our homeland. If our foreign policies precluded pushing smaller countries around to suit our pride and greed, if we refrained from occupying other lands with hundreds of farflung military outposts, not to mention callous and inequitable trade policies, then perhaps we’d have fewer terrorists angry at us because our governments underwrote their despots, our tycoons pillaged their resources, and our national interests left their families in danger, economic slavery, and without rights. I don’t see any terrorists threatening Canada, or Norway, or Sweden, and they top most lists of being the so-called envied lands of the rich and free. Now why is that?


It is our present policy to give great unaccountable gobs of money to a Department of Defense that cannot keep us safe from terrorists, cannot win unwinnable wars, and can only add terror and injustice to the terror and injustice already caused by others.


Our beloved America can do better, must do better if we are to live up to our wonderful traditions and ideals. I hope Americans soon decide to spend our taxes more wisely, for our own sake, and for the sakes of so many others.