I assume the collective pronoun means to exculpate everyone at once. For we know that those who committed the acts under inquiry — albeit somewhat secretly scrutinized with those who directly designed the infrastructure and gave the orders — were not to be held legally accountable; and that those who administer the current rollout and give the orders that the others not be held legally accountable are viewed free of misdeed, certainly given to pure purpose.
It is indeed gracious to include everyone else in the great register of wonderful people with values of goodness and daring deeds of humble magnanimity, traits exemplified best by our boundless bearing of burdens, not least of which is the soul taxing exercise of acknowledging mistakes and correcting course.
I wasn’t myself when I committed that act, neither the one time nor the other, on the day before or the day before that, let alone those times back then and, gasp, the stuff from the previous few years. If you think what you have heard is troubling, it’s better you don’t know more. Limiting it for the moment to innuendo should palliate the soul of today and mitigate what tomorrow may bring.
We are not criminals. Our talk show kings and cable comedian darlings generously present a platform beyond the bully pulpit to prove our tribal goodliness. Feel free to cheer at any time.
We are not those who decide not to hold ourselves accountable. We are not those whose orders to kill are a routine part of our job. We are not the one who said we need to move on from bad policies to spare the public tooth and nail the nasty details. We are definitely not the ones who started it. Just accept that since we are all in this together that we are not who we are.
Any misdeed revealed is by definition in the past. It cannot define us, though it’s none of our business anyway. When it is safe enough to acknowledge that we are who we are, it is comforting to know that we are not.