An aging Ellsberg said on the documentary that he took that action because he was upset that four presidents (GHB, JFK, LBJ, and RJN) had lied to us about how well things were going in Vietnam, and kept on spending more and more money on a war they knew the U.S. was losing. But they wanted to save face because it would be embarrassing America were to lose a war during their administration.
Ellsberg’s biggest disappointment was that most Americans never read in any detail about the findings contained in the Pentagon Papers, and didn’t even care what they revealed, even though the documents showed their government was lying to the people just to save face.
That concern brought me to the just-released Jack Smith report about the indictment of Trump -- 37 felony charges. The report is detailed, replete with comments Trump actually made, offered proof Trump deliberately kept them hidden from the FBI and refused to release them, time and again. This is quite disturbing.
But some Americans are tossing it off, saying it’s just another political piece and why didn’t the DOJ go after Hillary Clinton, who also had a few secret documents on her server, or President Biden. Mike Pence’s name was seldomly included in those who are trying to say what happened was all a witch hunt, which is Trump’s claim.
Do you care about what the charges against Trump are? The report available online under a search for “Trump indictment,” is only 43 pages, with lots of white space, easy to read, and very specific.
Or will the Trump indictment be forgotten next week? Will Americans, once again, say it’s all too political and all too partisan and simply dismiss it?
There are other areas of concern in our country that people know about but say, “Yes, we have a problem, but, well, I’m busy (or whatever); I’ll let other people solve it.”
Think about the escalating known powers of Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are slowly learning about it this past year, although it has been in existence since the 1980s. In early 2000, higher -powered computers were developed to increase the power of AI -- and the good and bad applications of it have been escalating. Some scientists, who have been working on AI, are now saying it is getting beyond their control – AI will soon be smarter than humans and will overpower human directions. An analogy between the dire possibilities of AI have been compared to the release of nuclear bombs, or another raging global pandemic, or a dramatic climate change with soaring temperatures. A dystopian portrait, for sure.
Do you care about this? Are you worried? Will you learn more about it and contribute to informed discussion? Or just say you are too busy?
Climate change is a bigger concern. Some cities are trying hard to lessen the use of fossil fuels and control the release of carbon dioxide. That’s good because we say we are worried and are taking some action. A few of the efforts are misplaced – like eliminating plastic straws. Straws won’t affect the fact that the seas get warmer and rising, and storms -- hurricanes and tornadoes -- occur more frequently. Our Earth will soon be in deep trouble if we don’t act faster and in a bipartisan, global, concerted effort.
So, what to do?
I look back at World War II, when America was challenged by attacks from Germany and Japan. In some unprecedented, united and inspired way, Americans joined together and worked as one to organize an action plan. We turned our factories, our economy, our self-sacrificing to produce machinery, planes and weapons to conduct war. We rationed, did not use butter, saved rubber and tin cans, and anything else the military thought would help to aid in the war effort. The best and brightest in our country organized a united response – and it worked. The future of our country was at stake.
The problems we have today need the same united, thoughtful effort. We need the best and the brightest to help all of us get together to help control our global climate problems, substantially decrease fossil fuel use, and control the misuse of AI.
Can we do this? Can we rid ourselves of apathy and, as citizens, encourage people to read, and better understand the problems we have, and act together as a caring society? Do you care enough to help take action?