Wake Up Call

People early on learn the Golden Rule, essentially to treat others (regardless of differences) as you wish to be treated. This idea is found in many religions as well. For example, love and compassion, not hatred and coldness, are a key part of Jesus’ teachings as well as part of other religions.

The outcome of the recent election has served as a wakeup call for many. The campaign and its outcome demonstrated the need for people to recommit themselves to the Golden Rule. There is now a widespread realization that there are increased threats, including violence, to vulnerable populations, including minorities, gays, disabled, the elderly and lower middle class and poor groups in this country. It is great to see the turnout of so many people promising to protect those under threat.

It’s not just individual and group acts of discrimination that are of concern. Many have long worked to assist vulnerable groups that have been under attack by biased economic policies and by systemic racism for decades (centuries) prior to the Nov. 8th election.

People are also working to help those under threat from policies designed to benefit those at the top of the income ladder. Those under this threat include the homeless, the jobless, the hungry, those mentally challenged, people facing foreclosures, prisoners, people without health insurance, minorities, etc. Groups are working to protect the public good, for example, to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, to campaign for a living wage, to have publicly funded childcare, to defend prisoner rights, and to have a clean and safe environment.

From colonial time, and especially in hard economic times, the rich and powerful used the idea of divide and conquer to keep the great majority of the people from coming together to challenge the power of the few. Unfortunately this approach is still effective. Hatred against and fear of minorities (including immigrants) is stoked by scapegoating them for the recurring economic hardships and for crimes. Until we come together and understand how we are being manipulated to protect the interests of the 1%, we won’t succeed in making the economic system meet the needs of the people.

In addition, we, the U.S. public have allowed and often encouraged our government to use extreme violence against people who were different from us, especially when we coveted their lands and/or resources. We tended to view the other as inferior, even less than human, and therefore we seemed to think that we could violate the Golden Rule as well as international and human rights laws.

The genocide against Native American tribes is a horrific example of our violation of the Golden Rule. Our government and our population acted shamefully against Native Americans, violating most treaties negotiated with them and massacring or starving many tribes. Unfortunately, the treatment of the Sioux water protectors at Standing Rock demonstrates that we have made little progress in following the Golden Rule towards these fellow humans.

Two further unspeakable violations of the Golden Rule occurred: 1) against the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century; and 2) in WWII against Germany and Japan who were themselves also guilty of ghastly crimes.

Regarding the U.S. public, according to J. Robert Oppenheimer, before the approval of the use of the atomic bomb, Secretary of War Henry Stimson expressed dismay at the “appalling” lack of conscience and compassion ushered in by the war. Stimson stated that he was disturbed by the “complacency, the indifference, and the silence with which we greeted the mass bombings in Europe, and, above all, Japan.”

The fire bombings of several German cities as well as Tokyo and the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed almost total disregard for civilian lives. In its method of fighting the war, the U.S. had joined Germany, Japan and Britain in committing atrocious war crimes.

More recently, the U.S committed horrendous crimes in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as well as in the Middle East, starting in Iraq. The illegal and immoral attacks on Iraq have played a major role in creating the disaster spreading throughout the Middle East. The U.S. public has generally shown a lack of compassion for the victims of these crimes.

If the message of ‘peace on earth’ is to have any meaning, all people must realize that the ‘others’ are fellow human beings whose lives have the same value as ours.

More articles by:

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics and former Green candidate for Congress and for Governor of Colorado.

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria