Feeling sorry for being an American

In his book “Peace is Every Step” Thich Nhat Hanh has a subheading in chapter nine titled “Reconciliation.”

It starts out: “What can we do when we hurt people and now they consider us their enemy?” Later he continues, “There are few things to do .. take the time to say ‘I am sorry, I have hurt you out of my ignorance, out of my lack of mindfulness. ...’ ” And later, “I will try my best to change. I don’t dare to say anything more to you.”

The process of pursuing mindfulness is the process of also pursuing compassion. Becoming aware leads you there.

I suppose there was a time when I was a “proud American.” But I have become aware of our history which includes our hunting down and murder of the indigenous peoples to take their land. Our history also reports the capture and enslavement of many peoples for many generations now lingering still without appropriate compensation and reconciliation. I am also remembering reports of “one hundred thousand civilians killed” during one of our military actions. Our corporately farmed foods along with our outrageously for-profit medical system continue to reduce the quality and length of life across the world.

Amy Poehler in her book “Yes Please” is refreshingly open and honest reporting that she often says “sorry sorry sorry.” Well, “sorry sorry sorry” is exactly how I feel about being an American right now.

Tod Merley


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