Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
All the while supporting these and other regimes, the United States has promoted its image as a freedom and peace-loving nation. Before the advent of the Internet, we could get away with that, but evidence of our misdeeds continues to escalate to all parts of the globe.
It is just a matter of time before the truth about matters such as our government’s culpability in 9/11, the lack of any justifiable reason for going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq and our involvement in global drug trafficking reaches a critical point internationally.
We face the wrath of the rest of the world, not only for what we have done wrong, but even more so for the hypocrisy we have displayed. This is likely why President Obama appeared so indecisive as to whom to support in the Egyptian controversy.
We need a program that works: A Twelve-Step Program for Hypocrisy
The program, as currently used, helps millions of those with addictions to alcohol, narcotics, gambling and other ills to find a way to control them. A modified version of the initial steps of the program would go like this:
Admit that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion.
President Obama should simply say the following, “The United States does not practice what it preaches. We support dictatorships even though we don’t always support free elections at home. We provoke wars and kill innocent people while we insist that we are a shining example to others. We must stop this compulsion and we need help to do that.”
Recognize a higher power that can give strength.
Participants in the program can refer to whatever or whoever they want as their higher power. Obama could call our higher power our constitutional values of presumed innocence for all, right to counsel, due process and additional tenets of war only as a last resort.
Turn will and lives over to a higher power.
If we followed these values, we would never endorse a leader who abused human rights. We would never rush to judgment to start a war out of convenience. We would also look in our own back yard and stop the war on drugs, which criminalizes many who suffer from medical problems.
To prevent us from losing our way or backsliding back into our addictions, we should remember those who gave their lives bringing our hypocrisy to our attention. Their legacies could serve as a sponsorship (a part of the 12-step program) for our nation.
John Kennedy – who saw that we had no legitimate reason to wage war in Viet Nam and tried to end our presence there despite heavy opposition from the military.
Martin Luther King – who called us to our better selves and who demanded justice and rights for all and thus offended the racist and patriarchal power structure,
Robert Kennedy – who spent most of his presidential campaign talking with voters who did not or could not vote and remains the last candidate not packaged with sound bites, half-truths and lies.
John Lennon – who dared to dream of a better world, which the powers that be took as a slap in the face.
Many more steps follow, such as:
Asking the higher power to remove defects of character, asking the higher power to remove our shortcomings, making a list of all persons harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all (this might take years!), admitting mistakes promptly and spreading the 12-step message.
Time is running out for us to admit to our mistakes. These admissions are not at all a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength that will allow our nation to correct its inconsistent vision of itself and of the rest of the world. The longest journey begins with a single step!