I know it is the holiday season, a time of celebration, joy, gratitude, family, food and gift giving. I hate to be a downer, but I am feeling so sad. When I look within what do I find? Great sadness over being part of so much corruption and deception that does so much harm to so many. I cannot extricate myself from it. I am mired in it. It is inside me. It is me. It is my corruption and deception. It is harm that I carry out or is carried out in my name, with my tax dollars or investments, with my action, inaction or impotence.
I am helping maintain a depraved system of lies and torture. Not just the CIA’s torture but the torture of the Earth, women, children, native peoples, the poor, immigrants and workers in sweat shops around the world. I have not personally engaged in waterboarding or beheadings but I am part of a system that makes use of drones, airstrikes, invasions, slave labor, unlivable wages, voter suppression, police brutality, hate crimes and poisoning of the Earth from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.
I drive my car full of gasoline. I turn on electricity generated by dangerous nuclear energy. I am ensnared in a corrupt, deadly system. Yes, I could buy a used electric car. Yes, I can change the source of my electricity to wind or solar. But can I stop paying to feed the beast? Can I stop purchasing products made in sweat shops? Can I be so self-aware, so diligent, so disciplined that I am free of guilt, free of the system? Or is it that no one has clean hands? We are all part of the Global Industrial-Military Empire.
How do I speak out, express my horror, separate myself from it and cleanse myself of the blood and filth? I don’t know. I will celebrate this holiday with my family. I will be happy. I will be grateful. But I will also be profoundly sad at so much suffering outside me and inside me. I will confess. I will grieve. I will do all that I can to relieve the suffering of all beings everywhere. This vow is my gift to the world and to myself. It is an impossible vow but it is more real to me than anything else. May it be realized here and now and forever.