All wars are crimes.
– Gerald McCraney as USAF Gen. Allen Adamle in The West Wing
In the lead-up to the almost shutdown of the federal government, I read headlines declaring a war on women, culture wars and a war on the middle class.
A quick google search also reveals a war on poverty, drugs, the working class, crime, cancer, kids, science, democracy, Christmas and greed.
Then there are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention (depending who you ask) Libya.
Turns out we’re also still at war with terror.
As if this wasn’t enough, wars have been declared on both ideas and ignorance as well. Complicating matters, those involved on both the ideas and ignorance camps make no mention of one another suggesting that neither campaign is meeting with much success.
This irony is matched only by the apparent alliance between FOX News and President Obama in the battles against education and schools according to News Hounds and Newsweek respectively. The Ayn Rand Institute reports FOX and President Obama have an ally against education in the form of multiculturalism.
I’m uncertain how the corporation, elected leader and intangible idea will be teaming up, but education better watch its back.
When looked at in the traditional sense, it’s easy to tell the hawks from the doves. Move the battlefield from the physical to the realm of ideas and everyone appears to be gunning for someone or something.
The American Psychological Association acknowledges the stress of war and includes an article aimed at helping teens build their resilience in times of war.
I wonder if our kids will be able to muster constant resilience when the literal wars are done and the wars against the figurative are still being waged 24/7.
At some point, not one I ever remember, disagreeing with an idea or pushing against something necessitated not a war, but something more akin to work instead.
“We are working against the rise of crime.”
“We are working to stem the tide of greed.”
I’ve heard we worked on problems in the hopes of finding solutions. Declaring war abandons those hopes. Wars deny solutions and aim instead at annihilation.
Working against something is a time-consuming process – one fraught with setbacks and missteps. Work, it turns out, is work.
Annihilation, on the other hand, abandons not only hope, but thought as well. Move to annihilate and no discernment is necessary. War implies the black and white of being with us or against us.
I get the draw of declaring war.
I’ve worked on several problems where I’d rather have destroyed than solved. Still, if we’re constantly working to make war on our problems, we’ll never have the resilience necessary to declare peace.