Life was so simple when I was younger. In the 1950s and 1960s, we had parents, grandparents and other responsible adults to tell us what was right and wrong. I learned my manners, and how to treat people with respect. Growing up in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, I learned the Golden Rule too. “Treat others as you would want them to treat you.”
Now I think nothing is simple. I’m 58 years old, a mother and grandmother myself, and I have serious doubts about whether my government knows right from wrong.
What should I do when I believe the path my country is following is unsustainable, unethical and/or unlawful? America is certainly not following the Golden Rule. Should I sit quietly and assume either the gov’t knows best, or there’s nothing I can do to fix things?
Here are just three examples:
1) Our rapacious appetite and consumption of the world’s resources far exceed our basic needs. We are raping Mother Earth to feed our fossil fuel addiction, and condemning future generations to a world that none of us today would want to live in. Is this intergenerational irresponsibility consistent with the Golden Rule? I think not.
2) Our misguided belief that “might makes right” appears to justify the U.S. government using drone technology to kill people overseas without any due process. Arrest, detain and interrogate, certainly, but would we want Iranian drones flying over Boston, Minneapolis or Albuquerque to take out a “terrorist”?
3) The U.S. government considers Hamas to be a foreign terrorist organization. See the full list here. I haven’t found what criteria our government uses in deciding who deserves that honor. Presumably, that designation justifies a whole host of outrageous actions against innocent Palestinians in Gaza; even threatening the Americans on the humanitarian flotilla headed to Gaza last summer with prosecution and imprisonment.
My government tells me not to visit Gaza, but I know right from wrong. If I lived in an “open air prison,” which aptly describes Gaza, I wouldn’t want the world to forget me.
If I lived in a community where the electricity supplies were cut hours every day, where there was very little clean water, and where my children could be shot and killed by the occupation forces if they walked too close to the border fence, then I would wonder how the world’s nations define “justice” and whether the Golden Rule had been accidently killed in a drone strike.
The U.S. is complicit in the ugly aspects of this occupation. My government is wrong. My decision to travel to Gaza is right!