up to Discover Your Soul is Missing....the Ultimate Nightmare
spiritually empty, you know. Your life is out of spinning out of
control. I see a bleak future if you don't...."
the hell are you talking about? As powerful and successful as I am?
I believe in Jesus, I
read the Bible, I go to church on Sunday....."
hey, hey! Save the defensive diatribe. You came to me for help,
remember? If you really want me to sponsor you, I need for you to be
honest, with me and with
you. Remember, awareness is the first step and "da-Nile" ain't
just a river in
don't even know why I came here. This is a waste of my valuable time. I
have more pressing engagements, and I am leaving!"
ahead. Perhaps you just aren't ready. But remember, by denying you have
a problem and walking out that door, you are proving you have a problem.
Denial and the "self will run-riot" are two obvious signs of
right, all right! It is
true. I have problems that I can't fix on my own."
good to hear you admit that. Awareness is the first step. I think
you may be ready to join our group."
right, maybe I am. So now what do I do?"
join the discussion and you can introduce yourself like the others
do. Then you can tell your story. Trust me. You will feel a rush of
tremendous relief once you open up to the group and start a real spiritual
will be there?"
community. Not one of us is above reproach
Each of us has suffered from spiritual maladies like you By
coming here today, you are taking the crucial first step that many of us
did. You will be joining the world community and moving toward spiritual
healing. Now let's sit down. You will be surprised at how readily
the group will embrace and support you."
the Courage to Take that First Step
two seat themselves in the crowded room filled with the pungent odors of
cigarette smoke and coffee).
it my turn to talk?"
America. Go ahead."
name is America, and I am an addict."
a chorus of replies in varying languages, the group welcomes America)
am addicted to power, over-consumption, imperialism, deceit, avarice,
hubris, and war. Like a spoiled child with a self-will run amuck,
I have tried to force each of you to bend to my will. My life has become
unmanageable, I am powerless over my additions. I am prepared to turn my
will over to a Power greater than myself and allow that Power to restore
me to sanity. The fact that I am speaking to you in English and
expecting all of you to understand me shows how deep my arrogance runs.
I come before you today with a broken spirit. I have grossly
abused my immense power, and for that I am sorry. That is all I wish to
say today. Thank you."
other members of the group thank America for speaking)
the Sweat of my Brow
months pass, and America, supported by its sponsor, works the Twelve
Steps with a powerful determination. It is a long and arduous path, but
America adheres to its deep conviction to follow a course of spiritual
redemption and fulfillment. Surprisingly, many of the numerous
nations and people America has harmed over the years respond in a
forgiving and supportive manner. Let's listen in at the Twelve Step
meeting in which America gives a detailed accounting of its spiritual
name is America, and I am an addict."
is met by a chorus of welcome from the other nations
comprising the Twelve Step group)
stand before you with nine months of sobriety and mental clarity under
my belt, and I thank my Higher Power for granting me the serenity to
accept the things I cannot change, the courage the change the things I
can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I thank those of you
who have offered me guidance and support along the way.
I embarked on my spiritual transformation, I realized what a cancer I
had become to humanity. To remedy this, I have shed my obsession
with being number one, and I have embraced a belief in a Power greater
than myself. My Higher Power is a composite of Jehovah, Jesus,
Allah, Vishnu, and many others. In fact, my Higher Power is amorphous,
and those amongst my people who remain atheist embrace science or reason
as their Higher Powers. Regardless of its form, the Higher Power I have
chose to embrace espouses the values of non-violence, thrift, honesty,
responsible use of power, equality, compassion, critical thinking,
careful scrutiny and evaluation of evidence, preservation of our
environment, a distribution of resources that provides for the
well-being of virtually all human beings, respect for human rights and
dignity, and participation in the global community. Wow!
When I look at the values of my Higher Power, I see how obscenely
misguided I was! Before my spiritual transformation, adherence to these
principles would have been utterly laughable, as all of you know.
Steps One, Two and Three by admitting my powerlessness, finding faith in
a Higher Power to restore me to sanity, and turning my will over to the
care of my Higher Power, I fulfilled the harrowing task of Step
Four; I made my searching and fearless moral inventory. Afterwards,
the visage peering back at me in the mirror was more foul than the
picture of Dorian Gray. My corruption and moral turpitude had wrought an
odious image, and at that point, I knew the meaning of the notion
that the "truth hurts".
I am going to engage in Step Five as I admit to the God of my
understanding, myself and to others the exact nature of my wrongs. I
need to take a deep breath before I get started, and I need some
sighs deeply and with a trembling hand takes a long sip of ice
water to help regain composure).
I go. I wrote my transgressions out and numbered them. I am going
to read them to you. Please bear with me as my voice cracks and I shed
an occasional tear:
a tone of uncertainty, America begins reading the carefully prepared
I nearly exterminated the indigenous people of North America, as I
committed acts of genocide and stole their land. To this day I continue
to treat Native Americans in a shameful manner.
I imported and enslaved human beings from the continent of Africa, and I
built a thriving economy with their blood, sweat, and tears. It is with
deep humiliation that I admit the vile depths to which I sank in
perpetuating the evil institution of slavery. Black Americans struggle
to this day with gross economic inequality, inferior public education,
bigotry, lack of access to quality health care, persecution by the
criminal justice system, and inadequate representation in the
pauses briefly for a few more deep breaths and another drink).
I am ready to continue," America says with a growing resolve behind
the tremulous voice.
Hispanics became my largest minority as immigrants streamed across my
borders seeking economic opportunities and shelter from oppressive
regimes I had created in Latin America. Without stopping to realize that
integrating into a culture and learning a foreign language do not happen
overnight, and that many of these new Americans were willing to do the
work that many indigenous Americans were unwilling to do, I was
indifferent to their needs and met them with bigotry. I even allowed
armed vigilantes (who defiled the name of Revolutionary War heroes
by calling themselves Minutemen) to patrol my borders to "curb
I allowed and even openly endorsed an ongoing repression of gay rights.
I banned gay marriage in many states and refused to pass hate crime
laws to protect gays from savage attacks and murder. I also chose
not to protect gays from discrimination in the work place. Simply
put, I left 5% of my population unprotected by the rights guaranteed to
my citizens under my Constitution.
It took me, the bastion of freedom, until 1920 to amend my Constitution
to give women the right to vote. To this day I continue to reject an
amendment which would guarantee women equal rights. While women enjoy
many more rights today than they have throughout my history, they still
face many barriers in access to equal education and employment. Women
are still grossly under-represented in my government.
After a respite of about fifty years during the Twentieth Century, I
resumed a laissez faire business environment. Union membership fell to
9% of the work force. Avaricious titans like Wal-Mart abused their
employees and paid them sub-standard wages. Energy leviathans like Exxon
reaped obscene profits at the expense of the American consumer by
keeping oil refinery capacity low, and by pouring large sums of
cash into think tanks which created propaganda to further
their agendas. The restrictions on the securities and banking industries
innovated after the stock market crash in 1929 were removed.
I made it more difficult for consumers to sue corporations and
businesses. I kept the minimum wage at sub poverty level for years. In
short, I favored profit-making and money over human beings. I stand
before you in ignominy.
again pauses to regain composure, still surprised at the audience's
My foreign policy was based on pursuit of hegemony and global
domination, at any cost. Perhaps more nauseating than the policy itself
was the way in which I peddled its virtues to my own people (and to
the rest of the world) like an uscrupulous used car salesman. As I
committed war crimes, repeatedly violated international law, ignored the
UN, killed millions of innocents in many countries on multiple
continents, and tortured prisoners of war, I worked vigorously to
persuade the world that I was "spreading freedom" and
"planting the flag of liberty". In Nagasaki and
Hiroshima, I killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in an
unnecessary show of force against a nation on the verge of surrender. I
have supported corrupt and ruthless dictators (many of whom tortured and
killed thousands of their own people) like Saddam Hussein, Shah
Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, Halie Salassie, General Augusto Pinochet, and
both Somozas in Nicaragua (to name but a few). With an unparalleled
zeal, I pursued the Bush Doctrine, which called for me to strike pre-emptively
and unilaterally, and to do whatever it took to maintain my military
dominance. I invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq (in defiance of the
UN) to topple Hussein, a former ally whom I had supported
while he was committing acts of genocide against the Kurds in the
1980's. My pretexts for the invasion were later exposed as
lies. My dishonesty, war crimes, and gross miscalculations related
to Iraq resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis,
thereby creating an untold number of new terrorists ready to retaliate
by gutting my own citizens like fish. My perverse actions in Iraq also
led to the death of two thousand of my own soldiers, who had agreed to
lay their lives on the line to defend a nation, not to expand an
I created a complicated network of corporations and business entities like
Bechtel, Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, and Lockheed Martin, whose
bottom-line profits were significantly fattened by the existence of a
perpetual state of war. Many of their executives retired to become
members of government and vice versa. Huge campaign donations and
powerful lobbying efforts ensured the continuation of lucrative
government defense contracts to feed this entity called the military
industrial complex. When the "Communists" ceased to be a
viable threat in the minds of my citizens (with the collapse of the
Soviet Union), I needed a new enemy to justify the continued escalation
of military spending. Opportunistically, I seized 9/11 as the advent of
a "War on Terror". By 2005, military spending had reached $600
billion (including expenditures for military-related endeavors by
non-military government entities like the DOE). While I
represented only 5% of the world's population, the money I spent on
defense equaled 50% of what the entire world spent to defend
themselves. It was staggering to realize how distorted this situation
I even had a proxy state to help me carry out my war crimes. Ignoring
the fact that there was room for co-existence in the Middle East, I
threw the full weight of my financial and military support behind Israel,
my co-conspirator in engaging in state terrorism. Ignoring the plight of
the Palestinians, it was easy to look the other way when the Israeli
government committed atrocities against them. In fact, I even endorsed
these acts of state terrorism against the Palestinians as justified acts
of self defense. However, when the Palestinians retaliated, I cried
foul and labeled them as terrorists. My hypocrisy was practically
As I slopped the corporate hogs dipping their snouts into the
trough of the military industrial complex, I used the "War on
Terror" I had created to justify siphoning funds from the
"socialistic welfare state" to stuff the pockets of my
corporate cronies. Along the way, I bankrupted myself by accruing a debt
of $8 trillion, which gave me further justification to seriously curtail
or end the "handouts" to the "lazy masses".
The wealth gap widened to a chasm as the concentration of wealth in
the hands of a few grew to a level unseen since the "Roaring
20's", the precursor to the Great Depression. I raised regressive
taxes and lowered progressive taxes. I was addicted to wealth, power and
war. I just couldn't get enough, and I didn't care who got hurt or
died along the way.
Through my corporate-dominated media, I deluded my people into believing
that I was Gary Cooper in High Noon, and that I could do no
wrong as the sheriff who would make the world safe for democracy. I used
the media as a means of propaganda to glorify over-consumption,
violence, and immediate gratification. I became a debtor nation of
people who felt compelled to have more, bigger, better and
faster. Right now. I desensitized my people to the plight of human
suffering here and abroad. I promoted religious fanatics like Pat
Robertson who were as inflammatory and dangerous as the
Islamic mullahs I cursed. I glorified unrealistic ideals of financial
success, fame, and physical attractiveness to the point that those who
did not "fit the mold" often experienced depression and eating
disorders. Fast food, easy bucks, quick weight loss, and
instant salvation (for a free ticket to heaven, accept Christ as one's
savior) became "spiritual" staples of my people.
I acted with a growing disregard for the state of the environment. I
refused to sign the Kyoto Treaty and denied the reality of Global
Warming as I produced 25% of the greenhouse gasses. I relaxed clean air
and water laws. I allowed my friends in the oil industry to portray
Global Warming as a myth and to impede development of energy sources as
an alternative to fossil fuels. The concession I finally made to the
need to lessen dependence on fossil fuels was to increase the production
of nuclear energy, despite its inherent dangers to humanity and the
over this moral inventory, I now realize the depth of my
iniquity, and I feel deeply sorry to those I have harmed along the way.
Words cannot express the anguish I feel for the damage I have wrought
upon the world."
pauses and sobs fitfully for several minutes. His peers watch and wait
with patience and respect, knowing that regardless of America's
crimes in the past, a spiritually enlightened America has the capacity
to make the world a much better place. They also recognize that
they are not without sin either, and are still on the life-long road to
regained a semblance of composure, America speaks again)
am ready to continue now. Having fulfilled the Fifth Step by admitting
the exact nature of my wrongs to you, I am now ready to have the Higher
Power of my understanding remove these defects of character, which means
I have also accomplished Step Six. As I stand before you, I will
take Step Seven and humbly ask Him to remove my shortcomings. Higher
Power, I humbly ask you to remove my shortcomings."
Will America Repay its Debt to the World?
you know, Steps Eight and Nine involve listing those I have harmed and
making amends to them. The list of those I have harmed over my 229 year
life span would be too long to enumerate here, but I will tell you how I
plan to make amends:
will start by disbanding the military industrial complex. I need to end
the incestuous relationship between my government and its defense
contractors. I will stop the obscene over-spending on defense in order
to start paying down my atrociously high debt, and to infuse more money
into humanitarian efforts within my borders and abroad. I will bolster
my public education system, find ways for all of my people to access
health care, work toward ending homelessness, increase funding to assist
the disabled and those with emotional disorders, and significantly
increase humanitarian aid to other nations, while seeing to it that the
money is channeled toward teaching them to fish rather than simply
giving them fish for the day. I also pledge to take up the cause
of the formation of a sovereign Palestinian state, and to utilize my
power in the United Nations to better the world rather than abusing it
to further my self interests.
will end my colonial occupation of sovereign nations like Iraq and
abandon my imperialistic designs spelled out in the Bush Doctrine and
Project for the New American Century. I will begin a systematic
closing of my military bases around the world. If other nations do not have
the right to maintain military bases on my soil, I have no right to
maintain bases on their soil. I will scrap my plans for the
militarization of space. I will work toward multi-lateral nuclear
disarmament across the globe. While my defense spending will diminish
dramatically, I still recognize the need for a reasonable military force
to defend my people, and will provide one.
is forced to pause as listeners drown out America's discourse with their
will make reparations to black Americans a reality by channeling
significant amounts of money previously spent on defense toward
improving education in the inner city schools which have predominantly
black enrollment, offering educational assistance and job training to
black adults, and finding ways to deliver adequate health care and
employment opportunities to black Americans. Descendents of former
slaves, black Americans still face many obstacles resulting from years
of bondage, abuse, and dehumanization of their race.
will end the corrupt stranglehold of the Duopoly of the Democratic and
Republican Parties and legitimately open the playing fields to
candidates from other parties. I will employ Clean Money, Clean
Elections reform, which will distribute equal amounts of public money to
qualified candidates, and will end the corruption resulting from
lobbyists and corporate interests gaining undue influence over elected
officials. Fraudulent elections like those in 2000 and 2004 will be
banished to the dustbin of history as I implement election laws to
prevent the Katherine Harris's and the Diebolds of my nation from
determining presidential election outcomes. These will be important
steps toward creating a healthy republic based on my Constitution,
an ingenious blueprint for government without equal.
will finally admit that the War on Drugs has been a sham, used to
justify military intervention in countries like Colombia and to stock
the prison industrial complex (another of my corrupt, incestuous
government/corporate relationships) with slave labor from amongst
the poor and minorities. Prohibition failed, and so has the War on
Drugs. I am calling a cease fire in this war, and will divert funds from
law enforcement and use them to educate children about the
inherent dangers of using tobacco, alcohol, and other recreational
drugs, and for programs to treat addicts. Draconian laws which
send non-violent drug users to prison for possession of small
amounts of illegal drugs will be abolished. Harsh laws and
consequences for driving under the influence will remain on the
am going to re-strengthen laws to regulate businesses so that I can
strike a balance between raw capitalism and socialism. History has
taught me that unregulated businesses will seek to maximize profit,
regardless of the human cost. Organized labor plays a valuable role in
protecting the rights of my working people, and its members will
again enjoy many of the legal protections which I have stripped from
them over the last thirty years. Alternatively, I have also learned the
folly of over-regulating corporations to the point that they are unable
to make a reasonable profit. My new paradigm will involve finding a
middle ground so that business and humanity can thrive harmoniously.
passage of the ERA and a constitutional amendment ensuring gay rights
will become realities. The Voting Rights Act will become a permanent
federal law to ensure that minorities are not denied their fundamental
Constitutional right to vote in my elections. I will aggressively work
to help the growing Hispanic population integrate into my society
without discriminating against them, or demanding that they know
English on the day of their arrival. I will disband the Minutemen.
I will work to become a cooperative member of the world community rather
than the belligerent bully I have been. Working through the public
education system (teaching my children), I am going to infuse my people
with a respect and understanding of other cultures and nations.
Unilateral foreign policy decision-making will be history, except in
matters of self-defense. Under my new system of values, the dominance of
the white patriarchy will end. I am a homogenous melting pot of
immigrants from around the globe. This is one of my strengths, and I
will maximize it by opening doors to wider participation by members
of varying races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, cultures, and
nationalities. Being white, male and Christian will no longer be a
prerequisite to rise to the top of hierarchies amongst my people,
government and organizations. In this way, my ties with the world
community will strengthen, and much of the global hatred for me will
subside. With a renewed spirit of cooperation, I will be able to
tenaciously pursue the truly noble causes of peace and social justice.
Cindy Sheehan will feel proud of her nation once again.
sits down to a round of thunderous applause and humbly thanks the group
for its support).
up Your Sleeves and Get Busy
days pass, and America's Twelve Step sponsor again initiates a
conversation with the spiritually renewed nation:
America, you set some lofty goals for yourself. Do you think you
can reach them?"
have prayed and mediated for the will and the power to carry out my
amends to those I have harmed. That was my Eleventh Step. It
is now up to me to do the work, but the outcome rests in the hands of my
do believe you have reached the Twelfth Step. America, you have
truly had a spiritual awakening and are ready to practice these
principles in all your affairs. I wish you the best. Remember,
humanity is counting on you!"
Jason Miller is a 38 year old
activist writer with a degree in liberal arts. He works in the
transportation industry, and is a husband and a father to three
boys. His affiliations include Amnesty International, the ACLU
and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He
welcomes responses at firstname.lastname@example.org or
comments on his blog at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.