I’m NOT Responsible & Refuse That Identity Pinned On Me!



Let’s be clear here: I have nothing except for respect and admiration for the writer Jay Janson. However, I do feel contentious about the viewpoint that we are all responsible for deplorable conditions, such as war, as exposed in King Held All Americans Including Himself Responsible for US Atrocity Wars NOT His Government .

Here’s my rebuttal to that, in my view, erroneous position:

I grew up in a Quaker pacifist family. I worked like a hell’s hound against racism, injustice and war since I was five years old by whatever ways that I could devise as my mind developed through the years.

When I was five years old, I saw severely maimed Hiroshima Maidens at Scarsdale, NY Quaker Meeting and staying with Quaker families, who hosted them and had arranged for free reconstructive surgery. And it is an utterly horrid sight for a five year old. Trust me about the view.

You want to see about what that experience is like? Here you go: What Version Of The Future Do We Want? – Countercurrents

Subsequently I always worked since that time to alleviate suffering, need and privation by others, including  when I donated nearly all of my Christmas toys and other items like paper and pencils, which I bought with chore allowance, to a lepers’ colony when I was a child. (I kept a few items like books and clothes that I was to grow into.)

Nobody is going to tell me that I am responsible for wars when I was in the first anti-Vietnam War march in NYC put together by Scarsdale, NY Meeting and FOR based on deliberations about Gandhi’s salt march. (We went full force down Broadway to the UN building in NYC. I was aching to be included and happy to be so.)

Yes, my mother brought me to the event. She had previously been well honed by Quaker luminaries, her husband and my father, a CO (conscientious objector); her friend Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, her friend Howard Fast and so many others, including extraordinary people with whom and for whom she worked at Riverside Church in NYC.

It was from the pulpit of the Riverside Church that Martin Luther King, Jr., first publicly voiced his opposition to the Vietnam War, that Nelson Mandela addressed U.S. church leaders after his release from prison, and that speakers as diverse as Cesar Chavez, Jesse Jackson, Desmond Tutu, Fidel Castro, and Reinhold Niebuhr lectured church and nation about issues of the day. The greatest of American preachers have served as senior minister, including Harry Emerson Fosdick, Robert J. McCracken, Ernest T. Campbell, William Sloane Coffin, Jr., and James A. Forbes, Jr., and at one time the New York Times printed reports of each Sunday’s sermon in its Monday morning edition.The History of the Riverside Church in the City of New York

Who do we want to blame for the USA ongoing souped up, endless wars, along with racism travails and travesties? Should it be the Quaker war tax protesters like Randy Kehler, with whom I grew up as a child or other Quakers who I have met and who have carried out the same action? By all means, let’s blame them for the USA conditions:

Betsy Corner and Randy Kehler Battle the IRS Over Seizure of Home …


The tax-resister owners, Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner, did pay their local and state taxes. Mr. Kehler and Ms. Corner continued to live in the house until they were arrested by Federal marshals last December. … During his week’s stay at Colrain house, Mr. Obluda, 64, typed a … [FYI: They gave the amount of money owed to war tax to peace causes. They didn’t renege on paying all of their taxes and did pay a portion of their federal tax, the non-war portion.]

Maybe we should blame a Quaker activist in her nineties and a blind Catholic nun in her eighties who were jailed with a friend of mine, a younger Catholic Worker, for their march at a major weapons’ manufacturing site. ( My friend led the nun to the march with the nun holding my friend’s arm due to her sight impediment.) Are they responsible for war???


Similarly, nobody is going to tell me that I am responsible for racism when this happened and I kept on going forward:

In support of the Selma March, I, a blond white living in Sarasota, FL at age 13 (1963), was collecting Green Stamps from strangers after school at a grocery store. Then I’d ride my bike home with them (around two miles) and paste them into booklets to send to my friend, Jackie M. (whose German father started Dannon, a struggling company in the 1960’s, and who’d endured WWII events as a German Jewish child).

She’d turn them over to her father and he had made arrangements to turn them over to a bus company for FREE N/C rides out of NYC to Selma, Alabama for protests. … Time was of the essence so I worked like the devil to get as many stamps as I could day after day. (Their existence was a free perk from the grocery market.) … Do you think that it could be fun to be a 13 year old collecting and pasting stamps for hours on end each day?

One day, a white couple asked about the reason for my collecting. Then I got spit on IN THE FACE and sworn at. I drove my bike home crying and shaking. I also decided to NOT tell my parents since they might forbid me to return to the action as it could be dangerous to me.

I decided, too, that I will NOT be intimidated. I would not be cowed any more than would be my two Freedom Rider friends, Irwin Wadler and Andy Goodman of whom the latter was beaten, bludgeoned and and kicked to death while Freedom Riding a year later. So I was out there the next day scared to death while collecting more Green Stamps.

My family took care of Ben Chaney, younger brother of James. for two months in NY while his mother worked with FBI and media after the Freedom Ride murder. We tried to help him heal. Maybe my family and he are responsible for the wars that OUR GOVERNMENT CARRIES OUT.

Maybe my brother-in-law is, who had machine guns casually pointed at him by sneering laughing guards when he inspected Laotian refugee camps at the request of International Red cross in Geneva, Switzerland.

Maybe he and my sister are responsible for war when they helped many war refugees after the Vietnam War come to the USA and helped them in various ways assimilate into USA culture, tutored them in English, brought and bought them furniture and other goods. Maybe they are responsible as theydrove them to grocery stores, helped them negotiate around and paid for their groceries out of their own pockets even though they, themselves, would have each week less for themselves to spend for groceries.

Maybe pacifist Catholic Workers, who took voluntary vows of poverty and who deliberately make too little money to pay taxes are responsible for wars and racism despite that they have been imprisoned many times for war resistant activities, lay their lives on the line in war conflicts, run homeless shelters, start up soup kitchens and found food banks.

My friend Mary, during a protest at a Bethesda, MD bio and chem weapons plant facility, flung her body on top of a gay protester whom police were beating. He was down the protest line from her and she was hauled off to jail and lost her college funding as a result of this action. Maybe she is responsible for war?

You decide: Mary, Protector Of The Harmed – Countercurrents.

How about Kate, who went to anti-war rallies and helped a gay teen who was literally tossed out of her home by her religious fundamentalist parents. Is she responsible for the wrongs? … Kate’s discussed here: Kate E. And Lady Gaga, Defenders of the Maligned.

Should we blame Howard Zinn, a US citizen and who I knew a little, for them? One of his books follows. It is worth reading.

A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn


A People’s History Of The United States. by Howard Zinn. Presented by History Is A Weapon.

History Is A Weapon’s response · ‎Columbus, The Indians, and · ‎A People’s War?

Emphatically nope, I refuse to take on that identify of being responsible for the wars carried out by my country’s government. I and my ideological and actual kinfolk will not “own” that vision of ourselves when we sacrifice and do all that we can to stop wars, racism and other social ills. We absolutely will NOT own the atrocities when we are willing to even give up our own lives to stop injustice — period.

No way do we accept that sense of self when we do all that we can to oppose major wrongs. Certainly with such a stance, we are not responsible for wars, racism or other ills that befoul the world and the USA socially and in fact since my buddies and I are absolutely anathema to the whole depraved situation regardless of whatever others think about our supposed culpable roles in utterly horrendous affairs! No, the monstrosities can’t be pinned on us one iota even if we were born in the USA. We will not subsume our complicity when we undeniably do not do so and resist complicity.

When we have spent so much time, energy and effort in life fighting an undeniably corrupt system of affairs and  sometimes at great sacrifice to ourselves and others (including our personal loss of life), we can’t be blamed for the terrible happenings. Some of us started young in life like me and others — later. Who cares the timing of when we started our disjuncture from the mainstream thinking and societal behaviors?

All the same, we irrevocably can’t be blamed for the existence of utter ugliness still prevailing despite our full-force efforts in opposition and attempts at amelioration to correct wrongs. We can only do our best to thwart and redirect the overall system and nothing more. We can’t assure outcomes, but we try, anyway, as a matter of conscience since we see no other way forward for humankind.

The monsters keep killing here in the USA and abroad. That’s the way it goes and a large bunch of us keep on resisting and for some, they are even willing to lay their (our) lives on the line, as stated above.

Accordingly, I will repeat again then — we, who resist, are not responsible for wars, racism or other ills that befoul our world and I do not like our being accused of these severe wrongs. My many brothers, sisters and I are anathema.

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA




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