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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Can Conscience Define Us?
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can Conscience Define Us?

In a time when Americans live to work and define themselves by their work, Mike Gogulski (, is defining himself with his conscience. In hard times, this becomes exponentially more difficult. If indeed we are forced to accept that our work defines us, shouldn't we consider what Mike writes in this holiday note?

Dear tool

24 December 2008 by Mike Gogulski

You are the technician tightening bolts on the Enola Gay. You are the clerk with the bad attitude behind the desk at the motor vehicles office. You are the janitor cleaning up the blood after the firing squad is finished. You are the programmer coding for the tax authority. You are the accountant for the land mine manufacturer. You are the policeman shooting the dog. You are the economist justifying inflation. You are the drill sergeant training men to kill. You are the legislator scheming for graft. You are the hangman tying the noose. You are the tech support person fixing the general’s email. You are the judge who beats his wife. You are the translator for the military ammunition tender. You are the inquisitor strapping the heathen to the rack. You are the logistics officer making sure the missiles get to the front line. You are the professor applying for the government grant. You are the plumber for the prison. You are the editor squelching the controversial view. You are the mathematician for the spy agency. You are the priest serving the pharaoh. You are the project manager bidding on the army contract. You are the installer putting up the surveillance camera. You are the bank officer filing the suspicious transaction report. You are the customs inspector. You are the teacher exhorting the students to pledge to the flag. You are the craftsman repairing the guillotine. You are the engineer designing the bomb. You are the businessman without conscience. You are the school principal paddling the student. You are the receptionist at the embassy. You are the security guard at the munitions dump. You are the agent infiltrating the activist group. You are the carpenter assembling the cross for the crucifixion. You are the chauffeur for the politician. You are the cop gassing the protester. You are the news commentator apologizing for war. You are the doctor preparing the lethal injection. You are the lawyer justifying torture. You are the research assistant at the bio-weapons lab. You are the informant ratting out the neighbor. You are the construction worker building the border fence. You are the graphic designer for the propaganda campaign. You are the soldier bayoneting the child.

How can you sleep at night?

Merry Christmas, you fucking tool.

I carry the chains of Jacob Marley, forged from the sins of my past life. Even though I am not a man of faith, I do believe there is a cost for our behavior in this life. Removing the links in those chains are the focus of my current personal and professional life.

I will not work for companies or corporations that undermine the basic and universal ethical rules that we all know are right. It has cost me a lot of money, time, and friends.

Yes, you must survive and provide for your family. However, consider if you wish to survive by the suffering of others. Real change starts with the individuals, who choose to participate in a society bereft of ethical guidelines, dedicating themselves to following the guidance of their own conscience.

Something to consider for the New Year.


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