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I Am Sorry

Kate McClellan
On Secrets (July 2020)

Dear Friends: Quakers embrace the inward light to illuminate the dark corners of our own hearts. I have been generous and helpful and empathetic on many occasions. But an underlying selfishness has been sort of hidden there all this time. So, I want to make amends right now and admit to something I failed to do forty years ago.

On the first Tuesday in November in 1980, I was taking a break from my evening MBA class. Somehow, I heard the news that Ronald Reagan had just been declared the President-elect of the United States. I had a clear vision of a helicopter coming down on civilians who got out of line. Instead of sounding the alarm, I was just thinking about how to protect myself and my family from the police state to come. I didn’t even know then what we know now of all the behind-the-scenes work that had been initiated to bring us to where we are today. I may not have known the details, but I knew what it meant. And I failed to do anything about it. I apologize.

As George Santayana said, “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.”

– Kate McClellan, Palo Alto Friends Meeting (PacYM)

police state social responsibility

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