Saturday, January 24, 2009

Being "Delusional" - re: Helping Build Positive Change

What follows below is a response to a lengthy posting I made on a Jewish Facebook Group topical page:
"There was a truce - where there weren't rockets heading towards Israel. Israel violated the truce with a raid I believe November 4th or 5th, 2008."

I'm sorry, this was so ridiculous I had to reply. (By the way, what is with the dashes? It makes reading almost unbearable.)

The day after the truce was officially agreed upon, six rockets fired into Sderot. Dozens in the months following.

On November 4th, Israel shot at armed militants digging a tunnel into Israel, and you call that breaking the ceasefire?


Hamas uses EYE GOUGING on Fatah members in the Gaza Strip, and that doesn't even make the news. You seem to be one of those "liberal" and "progressive" Jews, who thinks that all the Arabs really want is to live in peace with Israel, who is the mighty aggressor. That if Israel just played nice, everything would be all peaches and rainbows. Where I come from, we call you "delusional."
It is hard, and a waste of time, to respond directly to statements such as is noted above. Simply put "we don't speak the same language". For me Israel (and the U.S.) face a situation which has complexities but basically comes down to how one can find a way beyond the mistrust to make peace. I see Palestinians who basically want their own independent country, They want it to be free of interference from Israel and also free from the dictates of other Arab countries. I see a current impossibility of this occurring until Israel and the U.S. talk in good faith respecting the Palestinians and no longer Dictating the end result (which is a continuation of the status quo).

In all of this I see "extremists" both Palestinian and Israeli (and Jewish Americans) who bitterly fight anything that isn't their ideal future (Palestinian) or a minor modification of the status quo (Isreali/Jewish).

For the woman who I've quoted above probably nothing that I've said "speaks the truth". Part of me hesitates to guess what her reality is. I'd guess that some of the following are true for her. Palestinians and Arabs are killers who threaten to kill Israelis who have done nothing to deserve any aggressive behavior. Palestinians break agreements and Israelis follow them. Israel is a democracy and the Arabs have no democracies. If one negotiates with the Palestinians they will continue their past history of breaking agreements and Israel will "lose" no matter what is agreed upon. In the end Israel risks its own destruction and another holocaust if it doesn't remain militarily strong and vigilant against Arab aggression.

If we are to really succeed in the future at making peace we will need to confront the fears and help show that peace is possible. We also will need to break through much of the general ignorance and apathy of most Americans. People will need to see the costs in lives and money that U.S. foreign policy and Israeli policy force upon both others and ourselves.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Real History" - What is it ?

As individuals we face the "reality" of viewing the world in our own way. That way is shaped by whatever is critical within ourselves that pushes and pulls us.

Where we've been traumatized such as by violence when young, we may turn inward or outward to confront our demons. The abused child may turn into an abuser who pushes his/her pain onto others. Another person with a similar background may instead tear herself/himself apart through self-mutilation or substance abuse. In some cases another reaction to such an experience may be to seemingly transcend the hurt through hard work and be "balanced" and "sane".

In looking outward we may look at those in other countries in varying ways. Some of the criticisms of Obama and the Democrats are that they/we have a naive view of others - the terrorists and the like who need to be Confronted. In this type of a world (from my perspective) we are "good people" who are under threat from "bad people".

In my world view I try to see myself and those around us as "good", but "not great". I also try to see and understand those who are "different". I often feel like my fears of them are not necessarily rational or right, but rather are shaped by history and by often difficult realities.

Israel certainly faces hostility both to itself and to its Jewish citizens. Certainly this hostility is based in part on facts of its history and current realities.

As most Jews I was taught a history of "our people" which lead to an unquestioning support of Israel. As I've grown older I've read more and more which makes me question a lot of the basic presumptions I grew up with.

In talking with other Jews whose experiences aren't similar to mine, I need to recognize our differences and find common ground before I can expect to be heard at all. In talking with non-Jews I need to recognize how Israel and "Jewish concerns" may be very different to them, often much less important. Listening and being patient (which is hard) is important!

Besides dealing with these issues we also face "dominant paradigms" such as how the media and politicians have common "understandings" of the Middle East which continue to perpetrate perspectives which portray Palestinians and Arabs in general as "bad people" and certainly as not our equals.

The Middle East is but one example of where we have a lot of work to do before we can expect change to emanate seriously - from the U.S. Perhaps the recent "War" may help in the propaganda campaign, perhaps it will make things worse. Time will tell!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Truce - After What ??

I have witnessed horrific deaths
Massacres if you will
Through images – through feelings

A war
1200+ deaths
– terror
no power, little food – no escape

- - Contrasting Greatly –
Perhaps little over
One Hundredth – of the Deaths
== Rockets who killed a Few

“Fear” – is of course Why
“Those People” – can only understand force
“Deterrence” (will stop them)
“We are the Good People”

They should now surrender
No longer killing or threatening

Our Souls – are singed –
We aren’t innocent
We are witnesses
To Madness – Murder

“I was abused as a Child,
so I, of course, must Kill,
Kill and Kill – to Prevent
Further Abuse of Myself

- Who – Strangely – Continue
- To Kill
- Not Seeing
- The Goodness in My Heart"
We are Naked
We are Weak
It is sad

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sanity/Insanity - Connectedness and Not

Since the Israeli invasion of Gaza I've felt a lot of emotions - mostly related to the horrific things I read about in terms of destruction by Israel - as well as reacting to the seeming apathy and opposition (to the Palestinians) from most others in the U.S. - and perhaps elsewhere.

"In the three years after the withdrawal from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. On the other hand, in 2005-7 alone, the IDF killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children." (quoted from: )

How - Israel can be portrayed - as it is so extensively - as THE Victim - of Hamas - seems astounding to me - given such a ratio of killing(s) as well as because of so many other ways things that seem equally disproportionate in this conflict.

I've reached a state of emotional - loss - from what's going on. It is a "luxury" - that I can indulge in. Saturday - I went to a demonstration with plenty of Palestinians, Jews, and others who all were concerned. I needed a feeling (in person) - that I was not alone - in this insanity. On the internet - I can feel - support - but in person I don't experience it where I live. It felt very good to be there!

At the same time - I'm Not Palestinian. My family - is not under siege. I can detach and "pretend" - in moments that life is "normal" - which it otherwise is in full. My feelings fly in and roll out - in waves.

It feels eerily similar to some of the feelings I've had in the past when I did Men's Anti-Rape work, though it carries a lot more emotion within me now - then it generally did in those days of my past. Rape - was important - but I've not been assaulted, and the rapes of friends and others - while touching me - didn't burn me to my core.

Right now the only - "true fear" - I have is when the creek behind our house rises - with heavy rains - I flash back to when we were flooded December 3, 2007 (see blog entries from that time period for more on what I felt and experienced then). Recently - we had heavy rains and for a few hours - we were really scared.

Meanwhile - 1.5 million Gazans - are trapped, the vast majority of them having little, if anything, to do with Hamas. Many others - have relatives and friends - who they fear they may lose to this crazy - war - that isn't a "war".

A War - has fighting between two opposing sides. Hamas - is not - "fighting" Israel - if it really was - the Israeli death toll - could not be under 20, as it purportedly was the last time I heard of it (some of whom were killed by "friendly fire").


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stopping the Violence - Making Lasting Peace ??

As a concerned Jew - I can not look at things simply in some ways, while seeing things very simply in other ways.

Just because Israel is in my estimation Wrong - in invading Gaza and was Wrong in trying to Economically Strangle Gaza - most particularly from November 5, 2008 on - (though also prior to then,) doesn't mean that Hamas is "right" or "good".

Obviously the Rockets - and the seeming Willingness to Sacrifice Civilians - "for the cause" is "wrong" for Hamas to do.

Hamas being "wrong" does not justify Israel being - "more wrong".

Assume for a moment that most of us share common goals of:

1.) Wanting an end to the rocket attacks in Israel,
2.) Ending the killing in Gaza, and
3.) Gaza moving towards being a a semi-independent, if not fully independent state (or part of such a state) living in lasting Peace with Israel.

It is unclear to me how such goals can possibly be achieved through military means. I can not imagine how violence directed against Israel will end through military force. Perhaps the rockets will be stopped in the moment with a "military victory". If this occurs, does anyone not believe that the violence will recur in a similar or new form against Israel - until or unless my third goal (above) is beginning or established.

The "pullout" from Gaza - several years ago did not do this. It left Gaza under extreme pressures from its dire economic state. It faced such pressures both from its citizenry as well as from Israel (who wanted and want Hamas out of power).

When it is believed that the Israeli pullout from Gaza provided the means for "peace" in Gaza - related to my third goal (above), we end up stuck in an endless cycle of violence with the U.S. pushing and Israel struggling to control and/or eliminate Hamas.

Hamas is trying to keep the pressures on - with Israel as "the enemy". Rocket attacks are a Logical means of keeping (and increasing) its power within Gaza.

Hamas can not solve the crushing problems it faces internally without Substantial outside assistance and cooperation and a tremendous amount of Difficult Work.

Radical forces - such as Hamas - will react to their weaknesses and problems - "logically". Now -logically means keeping things focused upon a Clear Enemy - Israel.

Hamas has no clear means to push for Peace.

Both Hamas and Israel - have a need for "winning". They need to save face - having a need to pull back - without "losing".

For Hamas - to stop the rocket attacks now and to Attest that they will have ZERO violence against Israel unilaterily (without preconditions) - as the U.S. clearly is pushing it to do ---- is surrender in total --- trusting a future (that based upon past experience gives them nothing except an absence of direct military aggression).

It will logically lead Hamas and Gaza to chaos. It will have no way both to Save Face and to deal with the catastrophic conditions that worsen each day. Obviously there will be some humanitarian aid with a unilateral ceasefire, however it will also clearly not end the dire poverty and hopelessness that has been Gaza's reality for decades.

For Hamas to unilaterily agree to "peace without preconditions" - would be to say: "We were 100% Wrong and Israel was 100% Right!"

That would be an impossible task. Far, far more realistic would be for Hamas's Leadership to end up as "Martyrs" - killed by Israeli Bombs (along with far too many civilians).

Israel has a real need for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and even Syria to help the Gazans and most importantly serve as a buffer to help create Peace. This is a difficult task for other Middle Eastern countries to do. They do Not want Radical Islamic forces - such as Hamas - to threaten their own leadership within their own countries. Egypt, in particular, has a lot to lose if it takes Gaza as its "own" or otherwise is closely allied with it.

Muslims - throughout the Middle East (and Christians within these Areas) are getting increasingly angry at both Israel and the U.S. as the death tolls rise. Their peoples' anger can not readily be dealt with by their governments. The anger is spreading to countries such as Turkey which are allies of the West.

In the U.S. - Nothing substantive will likely happen until January 20th, when Obama becomes our President. Even then it is unclear if much will change. Obama's moves as President-Elect have been on "higher priorities" - and he's not yet assembled his Middle East "experts" to handle things with him there.

Iran - seems clearly to be Israel's biggest threat in the Middle East.

To really cope with Iran - both the Israelis and the U.S. - really need strong ties with the other important countries proximate to it. Egypt in particular is very important. Egypt in particular is stuck now - between anger amongst its people and a need to Not import Hamas's strengths into being a threat to its leadership.

To really, really build towards peace - we - wherever we live - need to do our best to Make Peace. It is in Israel's (and the U.S.'s) best interests that Gaza become stronger - economically - with jobs, as well as with adequate medical care, sufficient food, improved housing, etc. It needs an economy that will grow - and help end the push towards the radical religious leadership of Hamas.

There is no guarantee that Hamas will lose power if such a major change takes place! It is, however, the Only way that is realistically possible. Hamas's repressiveness - and its attempts at provoking Israel will continue and Grow - absent a New Reality - which in the end should result in either:

1.) Hamas becoming a (reluctant perhaps) partner in diplomacy and cooperation with others
2.) Hamas losing power (as Fatah did) - because its leadership doesn't produce results.

Certainly there are no guarantees - of Peace! It is clear, however, that the status quo with its repressiveness and stalemates will only worsen things.

We say that we want the Palestinians to be "reasonable" and "moderate" and similar. We purportedly want Abbas and/or his allies within Fatah to lead towards a "Moderate Palestinian State" in both the West Bank and in Gaza.

In the West Bank in recent times there have not been suicide bombers terrorizing Israelis. There has been relative Peace in the West Bank under the "moderate leadership". Where there has been violence often it has been perpetrated by Israeli Settlers.

What is the cooperation with the Israelis giving moderate Palestinian West Bank leadership?
*Is moderate leadership moving the West Bank into becoming an independent Palestinian state?
*Is moderation leading to the Israelis stopping the expansion of their West Bank settlements?
*Is moderation leading to stopping the land confiscations for the Wall separating Arabs from the Israelis?
*Is moderation leading to stopping the construction of the Wall and tearing down what has already been built?
*Is moderation leading to it becoming easier for West Bank residents to move within their country and not have huge delays at checkpoints when they can get through at all?

Absent successes by Fatah in the West Bank - now - Are we going to Wonder - a year or two from now - why Hamas and other radical forces are taking over power in the West Bank (as well as Gaza).

It is said that there is increasing foreign investment in the West Bank. I can Not believe that this will be enough to allow it to "prosper" and for its people to be accepting of the status quo.

I hope that we will find ways to assist Gaza, Israel and the West Bank - in making Peace - Now - that can grow into a Lasting Peace.

We have a lot to do - to build trust - so that risks will be taken to make peace. We have a lot of healing to do in rebuilding property lives, hopes and hearts.

We are not "wrong alone" - in what we do and don't do. We can change what we are doing and not doing. We can't control what others do and don't do. Hoping for Peace - is not Enough. Helping create Peace - is what we must do.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Victimhood as a "False Excuse" and Gaza

In reaction to feminism some men say that they are "victims" of women in a way which disturbs me greatly. Obviously I would not question the realities of individual men who have been hurt badly by individual women such as through domestic violence, emotional abuse or similar. At the same time I see no Systemic Oppression of Men by Women.

I also have trouble with some of the victimhood claimed related to 9/11. Obviously for those who lost loved ones on 9/11, they have certainly had serious losses that no one should deny. At the same time making this tragic event into the "Monster Atrocity" to the U.S. - as a whole - seems absurd to me. Certainly we in the U.S. may well have been shook up by what happened and emotionally affected but its direct impact upon us has not been as great as our emotional reaction to it.

Per U.S. crime statistics - roughly 17,000 people are murdered in the U.S. each year ( . Yes 3000 people killed at once was tragic. The numbers killed in Iraq alone far surpass these numbers. 700+ Gazans out of a population of 1.5 million people have been killed in recent days.

Israel - certainly has victims of violence from Hamas and others. Certainly there is a feeling within Israel of impending danger from the rockets and similar. At the same time one should consider How Many - have been killed and wounded. This, of course, does not take away from the tragedies of death for those who die often needlessly.

The numbers of Israelis who have died or been injured not in military operations - but in violence from Palestinians - has been reasonably small. The numbers killed particularly appear small in comparison with the corresponding numbers of Palestinian deaths.

Israeli children - and their parents are scared of being killed by Palestinians. Palestinian children in the West Bank die in far, far, far higher numbers. An example of this is: 123 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,050 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000. ( .

Such a ratio to me says that the Palestinians have a significantly higher problem from death than the Israelis do.

There is no doubt that Israelis fear that Palestinians will kill them! This should not take away from the facts that far, far more Israelis can live "normal lives" than Palestinians can within their home countries. Israelis fear being attacked in general. Palestinians often have basic fears of safety in various ways that would be totally unbelievable to most Israelis. Israelis in general do not face situations where they need to get through checkpoints to get emergency medical care.

I have great difficulty in seeing Israel - as a "victim" of the Palestinians. I heard recently on Air America a host talking of the hostile countries who wished to see all Israelis killed. I could hear his opinions, but wonder - who these hostile nations are? Iran I could understand perhaps. Jordan and Egypt hardly seem threatening to Israel. Syria may be "scary" in ways, but is it really a threat to Israel?

Israel is a military super-power in terms of its military capabilities. The Holocaust resulted in millions of victims. Fears of another holocaust are real, but are not necessarily "rational".

Israel has victims. Israel is Not a Victim.

One can only hope that Israelis will start to see how much of their "victimhood" is not real and how what dangers there are may be largely stopped with serious moves for peace. Similarly I can hope that in the U.S. we will stop seeing ourselves so much as the victims of others - who clearly aren't our "oppressors".


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Blog - from Both an Israeli and a Gazan - Hope?

All Things Considered, January 6, 2009 · For the past year, two men — one Israeli, one Palestinian — have been blogging about their lives on opposite sides of the Israeli-Gaza border.

Israeli Eric Yellin calls himself Hope Man. The Palestinian, who does not give his real name because of safety concerns, goes by Peace Man.

see the link below - for the Blog

Victims - "True" and "Deserving"

I think now of the political nature of "being a victim". It often seems like we have the: 1.) True Victims, 2.) The Distant Sort of Almost Victims and 3.) The Deserving Victims.

True Victims are readily apparent. Those killed in New York City on September 11, 2001 are the best clear example. The young child killed by the drunk driver crashing head on into the victim's car would be another example.

The Distant Sort of Victims are not as obvious. Some might view those killed in Indonesia over many years as the national government wiped out indigenous peoples as distant sort of victims. They didn't "ask for it" but we really knew very little of who they were or even that they were dying. Many in South Africa seemed to shift from being Distant Sort of Victims to True Victims when the freedom struggle in South Africa became more and more visible in the U.S.

The Deserving Victims are often seen as being complicit in their own deaths. Oft-times Muslims or Arabs are seen in the U.S. as being complicit in 9/11 or terrorism in general and deserving to die or be hurt by others. Sikh taxi cab drivers mistaken for being "Arabs" are seen by some as Deserving Victims because they are "not like us", while others may see them either as Distant or True Victims.

Clearly both the media and the political winds shape our definitions. We may hear very little of genocide and then it is splashed throughout the media. The Iraqis were "victims of the Iranians" and Saddam Hussein was then "justified" in using toxic gases in fighting the Iranians in the 1980's. Then Saddam Hussein was no longer "our man" (e.g. puppet) in the 1990's and he became "the enemy". Now Iran is again "the threat" and Iraq is "potentially good". Those killed in their conflicts shift in our minds from "true" to "deserving" and sometimes back and forth again.

Death - killing - tidal waves, murderous rampages, community health emergencies, starvation, etc. are all tragedies for those affected. The families of those killed as well as the people facing bombs, a lack of medicine, being scared to go to school, having no electricity or water - and many other situations hurt and kill and hurt and kill the spirits of far too many people over much of the world.

I hope that someday we will really see how domestic violence, sectarian hatreds, and many other things are related in a world where peace and cooperation are often not valued and death and destruction are supported, both directly and tacitly by what we do and don't do.

I think of the needless death of a friend's sister shot-to-death many years ago in a robbery in the parking structure of the New Orleans Hilton. I think of the many who are dying and living in a "death culture" in Gaza today. I think of the several people who've been killed by Hamas rockets and those who fear death and destruction from them. I think of the families and friends of the teenagers dying in gang warfare nearby as well as those killed because they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think of the losses many face from cancer, car accidents, excessive consumption of alcohol, and many other causes.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Revolutionary Road - and Our Masculinity

In watching Revolutionary Road yesterday I saw Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, a 1950's suburban couple, in a strange way - related to masculinity and femininity. For me there was a clear feminist lesson in what I saw- though I doubt that many others necessarily saw things similarly.

Our male lead was in various ways a "stereotypic male". The female lead was similarly a "typical young wife/woman". They were the suburban couple - he working in the City and she at home with the children. They saw themselves as being "different". Kate Winslet's character in particular tried to be different, in her plan for getting out of suburbia. Her dreams were quashed by "reality" and her husband's decisions related to it.

Bringing the characters 54 years forward to today would clearly have significant changes. The wife would not be trapped in a world of the suburban home. Instead she would probably be trapped in a world where she was working full-time, doing 80+% of the work around the house, and being the one to care for most of the children's needs. She would have moved from the trap of the home to the trap of having No life for herself.

Looking at Leonardo DiCaprio as a "man" is illuminating to me. He had his father/provider/decisionmaker role at home. He had a totally superficial tie with the three fellow workers who worked near him. He was "friends" but barely so with his one male neighbor/friend. He didn't want to have the life his father had, but when the chips came down, he made similar decisions trapping himself.

I think that the movie indirectly shows how women have gone through a lot of changes with the modern feminist movement from the 1960's through the present.

I see far less change in the men! Far, far too many of us men (including me) know lots of people, but have few, if any, really deep friendships. We still often speak and dictate to others but Don't listen beyond the instrumental modes of "success" and similar.

We've been forced to cope with feminism and how it's affected the women around us, but really haven't been forced or chosen to confront the deeper issues of connecting within ourselves and then beyond ourselves to the "total" worlds around us.

Yes, there are plenty of exceptions and qualifications I could make to this. I'm not sure how deep they are though.

We still have physical or verbal violence as a prime mode of coping with our failures. We learn as little boys to manipulate the physical world(s) around us. We often don't learn to relate to boys and girls as caring, feeling individuals.

It is hard for us to move forward as men! We often seem stuck in our worlds of "freedom without responsibility" as boys and sometimes as men. We "do our own thing" alone or with our buddies, not constrained significantly by others. Increasingly this world is limited for many boysin the drive to "be successful" in athletics, school and sometimes other areas.

As we get older, similar to in Revolutionary Road, we get trapped in our "shoulds" and "musts" and "being responsible". Where we break out of such worlds often we move back towards the "world without responsibility" . We may pay child support, but where we have the kids every other week we are only in a limited way bonded with them.

We often lack a deep bonding to others. In some cases we bond deeply within one or a few others, but often we don't bond with the "larger world" - the world of our children's schools, their classmates, as well as the birthdays of all around us, the emotional needs of our friends and neighbors and so much more.

Feminism in some ways has played a cruel joke on women telling them that they "can have it all" - when the constraints of working, taking care of children, being in a primary relationship and running the household are overwhelming.

Feminism seems to often have taught us as men that we need to "self-actualize" often ignoring the needs and desires of those around us. Where we act responsibly and with compassion we often have things like sports to entertain us, but often find it harder to have close relationships with others.

We have a lot of work to do! Thanks!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Few Bad Apples - No (Way!)

I've just finished Valerie Plame Wilson's book: "Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House" - an excellent book. The book paints a damning picture of the lies and deceptions of Republican leadership including more than a few powerful individuals.

I am troubled though by Plame Wilson's naivete about basic U.S. policy abroad. Obviously to work for the CIA as a spy for 20 years requires a core belief in support of U.S. governmental policies. I don't share such a perspective.

Obviously the U.S. is not "the devil" or necessarily worse in many ways than many others throughout the world. It is important to recognize that we are the most powerful country in the world militarily as well as in various other ways. Where we do good things they may be recognized more deeply - as has happened with our acceptance of immigrants over several centuries of our history. Where we do "bad things" they can have far more impact upon many others than the actions of less powerful nations.

We have a history of "doing bad" which most of us should be very aware of. Examples which readily come to mind include:

1.) The capture and enslavement of Black Africans until slavery was ended in 1865,
2.) The devastation of the lives and survival of Native Americans continuing at least until very recently, if not continuing through the present,
3.) Legal denials of equal rights to African-Americans for a century following the Civil War including killing and maiming many (as well as many racist incidents and practices since then),
4.) Requiring Japanese-Americans (only those living along the West Coast) to live in concentration camps during World War II while other Japanese-Americans were accepted into the U.S. military and allowed to live "normal lives",
5.) Overthrowing and helping to overthrow the governments of countries such as Chile, Guatemala, Iran, Panama and attempting to overthrow the government of Cuba,
6.) Kidnapping and imprisoning supposed "terrorists" in recent years who have had few or no rights to establish their innocence of committing crimes - totally apart from our invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Where our country makes decisions they frequently reflect large business interests such as the concerns of defense contractors and weapons manufacturers.

While we can obviously find particular U.S. presidents such as Reagan and George W. Bush as particularly "bad" we should not forget President Clinton ordering diversionary raids causing much devastation while trying to fend off the increasing noose related to his affair with Ms. Lewinski.

Barack Obama is not "pure" or "clean", though he's had less chances to hurt others than his predecessors.

Let's not be naive! While we may see ourselves as "not as bad as ..." that is far different from recognizing our Very Mixed record continuing through the present.