In my recent book "The Darkness Behind Me" I had a chance to revisit the 1960's, a time of much turmoil and social unrest. What struck me was not the vast change in technology but the lack of progress in our thinking. Back then the United States in keeping with our post world war mentality aggressively pursued a foreign policy of intervention in different cultures waving the flag of humanity. Certainly this has a popular ring until you look at it from more than one point of view. We knew very little about Vietnam but somehow we thought we could do what the French couldn't. Under the banner of saving the world from communism we sent countless young men and some women to certain death. The politicians of the time McNamara et al steadfastly clung to our involvement even though the public realized it was a futile attempt to assert power. In the name of humanity we were using chemical weapons like Agent Orange that killed the bad guys and the good guys without distinction. The result of it all was a divided Vietnam and a lot of young people now long forgotten.
Fast forward to the present and we again find ourselves immersed in Afghanistan and to a lesser extent now Iraq chasing yet another threat to our way of life in the form of the Taliban or in the latter case Al Qaeda, struggling desperately with a situation that has spiraled out of control. And once again our leadership is certain of a course of action that has confused our allies and strengthened our enemies. And once again the specter of a divided Iraq looms on the horizon with ISIS now in control of the north. How we got to this place is clear, we were provoked and fighting over there seems a better alternative than fighting here. But revenge is one thing. Trying to make everyone over in our own image is something else.
One has to wonder why our form of government is the answer for everyone. Diversity means "different", and to a large extent values are different among people as we are discovering once again in our own country. Our representative form of government doesn't always result in the thoughtful execution of the public will as witnessed by our open borders, courts overturning voter approved legislation, the federally mandated health care law, the recent occupation of Wall Street. Our separation of church and state is ideologically contrary to a Sunni/Shiite concept that merges religion with governance.
The 1960's saw a government unaware or unwilling to address a plethora of foreign and domestic issues that morphed into our present day life including indiscriminate use of drugs that threaten our borders and public safety, civil disobedience now used by political groups to disrupt commerce and malign business and disrupt the seat of government, corporate abuse of power and the failure of government to regulate and follow the rule of law [Lehman Brothers, Enron, BP, General Motors], and the general erosion of our Christian faith that was the foundation of our morality as a country.
An author and political writer, I am currently retired from my position as a corporate CEO having had experience at home and internationally. Canadian born I lived through a world war and all of the misunderstandings that we as a country have engaged in these past 75 years. Our humanity we share but intrusion begets resentment and our indiscriminate tolerance can lead to chaos. We need to be on our side before we try to fix someone else.
The Darkness Behind Me
T.J. Shannon immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950's and witnessed firsthand the impact of corporate abuse and social injustice derived from poor government decisions. He received his master's degree from the University of Detroit and was president of several corporations in the U.S. and Cayman Islands.
"The Darkness Behind Me"
By T.J. Shannon
Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book