Why Political History Illiteracy is Killing Us (Part 1 of 2)

Perhaps my chief concern about politics today is that too many of our citizens have fallen into choosing the reality they want and shaping the narrative that suits them without any concerns about whether or not it is true.

I began to question my own awareness in 2001. When our country made the decision to go to war with Iraq, the outcry was immediate and loud. But, I couldn’t find anyone coming forth with facts to support the reason we were going after Saddam Hussein outside of ending a grudge match with the Bush family.

I made a decision not to offer any opinions at all until I had a better grasp of the history that led to the toxic and awful relationships between the United States, its allies and big portions of the world.

Two of the many books that I read shaped my narrative. During the first half of the 20th century, Great Britain and the United States maintained an iron grip on Iran to ensure we maintained the continuous flow of oil. Rather than publicly dirty their hands, they propped up the Shahs who terrorized the citizens into living with the status quo. Oil workers lived in slave-like conditions and Iran’s primary resource was controlled by us.

In the early 50s, Iran’s citizens formed the first democratic election. Iran’s first elected Prime Minister was Mohammad Mossadegh. The Shah and members of his family fled to Britain and the United States. When Mossadegh announced the cancellation of oil contracts with the UK, the CIA, and British Secret Intelligence launched a campaign of disinformation, paving the way to arrest this man and returning the oil to us.

For quite some time, I would ask people if they knew why Iran and much of the middle east was actually enraged with us. Usually, I was greeted with a somewhat irritated and blank stare.

Consider the possibilities of manipulation when most citizens don’t really care if what they are being told is the truth! We are not alone, a recent documentary showed Japanese teenagers shopping in Nagasaki. Most of them were unaware they were shopping over a mass grave.

The most macabre moment that year took place on a ship. We were on a transatlantic cruise from New York to Portugal. On the first night, every seat at that table was randomly selected by the maitre d’. We had the ship’s drunk doctor. We had one tight wrapped couple who had met at Northrup Grumman, they retired in great wealth because they realized stock in the defense industry would continue to grow for years. Finally, there were two grandmothers from the south. Helen was a retired piano teacher and Betty owned a bakery. She had a huge pin, a circular broach, with her son grinning from ear-to-ear in a US Marines uniform.

Everyone made introductions. When we reached Betty, she announced, “My son is in Iraq doing God’s work.” Helen, who was the first person to become aware of my views rolled her eyes towards mine. The weapons wife caught our look, turned to me and asked, “Why are you making such a face at each other.”

“Because you two are the only ones at this table who are benefitting from a war that was launched on lies. You will actually make money off of the thousands of people getting killed and Betty is the sacrificial mother who sends her son over there to do God’s work.”

Which God is that?”


David Harder
David Harder
DAVID founded Inspired Work in 1990, which has helped over 42,000 professionals transform their relationship towards work. Individuals from all walks of life attend Inspired Work’s public programs to launch new careers, new business or to become more successful in their existing role. He views work as a profound opportunity to become more fulfilled, contributive and effective. Mr. Harder’s leadership, employee engagement, executive development and social networking programs are used in a wide variety of organizations including The Walt Disney Company, HBO, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, The United Church of Religious Science, Morgan Stanley, and many others. Inspired Work’s leadership programs, career development and team building programs produce some of the worlds most outstanding satisfaction numbers in any business: 92.6% out of a hundred. David has appeared on many business and human-interest programs including CNN, KTLA News, KFWB News and Business News Network. David’s book, new book, The Workplace Engagement Solution (Career Press) offers an entire “crack-the-code” approach to engagement.