I have known about wars, shooting wars and wars of words. Both kinds have been a big part of my life, although I’ve never participated myself in a shooting war. On the other hand I have often been a part, often a big part of wars of words, mostly among my fellows, and mostly my fellow workers and students in schools and colleges where I have studied and taught. But often also within my own family and among friends. At best the wars, especially the wars of words, were fun. At worst of course were the shooting wars, where mostly young men and women lose their lives, no fun at all.
I was taught, by the social media, by the culture in which I was immersed, that wars were always out there, not far away and playing a big part in our lives. But the opponents in the shooting wars I was familiar with were not individuals, but nations and peoples, at best defending their own lands, and usually speaking different languages, (I I’ve never known up close a Civil War, of which there are still many, between peoples of the same land and language, and that’s probably a good thing). The opponents in the shooting wars I have known if only from a safe distance, as in WWII and earlier WWI, and even later in Korea and in Vietnam, were good Americans, and bad Germans, and later good and bad Russians and bad Chinese. And these wars were brutal, they had to be won, they were wars of survival, and during my lifetime the Americans were for the most part the winners.
It took me almost a lifetime to fully realize that the most demoralizing, if not most frightening wars are not necessarily shooting wars between different nations and different peoples but sharp differences between peoples of the same nation, holding different ideas and different beliefs, beliefs and ideas over which they were ready to fight, that is, ready to wage war. That’s the kind of war that is today most with us and perhaps hardest for many of us, me included, to live with. Why? Because other points of view bring into question what we hold most dear, such as, for example, our views of liberty, equality, and fraternity, the sorts of beliefs we will fight for.
The most demoralizing war of all is that between Left and Right, liberal and conservative, the rich and the poor, the haves and the have nots. Demoralizing because there is no need for it. And this war is going on right now. We read about it daily in the news. Just today for example we learn that President Trump has proposed a second far right conservative to fill the present vacancy on the Supreme Court. This will probably tip a long existing liberal/conservative balance on the Court definitely to the Right. It didn’t have to be like that. The Center is still there, although terribly neglected. Will those on the Left find the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh on the Right reason enough to go into battle, begin a war, to protect their own Left points of views about any number of issues such as religious freedom, marriage equality, entitlements and welfare, immigration and taxation, all with both Left and Right divisions?
The question I ask myself almost daily in response to the Left/Right difference regarding nearly any and every issue that comes up is this one, “is the difference real?” Does it really matter? Does it have to be there? Does it reflect or correspond to something substantial in our natures? Or might the Left and Right difference of opinion be eliminated easily by a random mutation in our genes, or by directed genetic manipulation of our DNA? Or best by a conversation in which the opposing sides listen to one another?
Re. immigration, if you’re on the Left you would take in more immigrants, not build a wall to keep them out, and you would abolish ICE. If you’re on the Right you’d give Trump his wall, and by the wall and in other ways reduce the number of immigrants coming here, legally as well as illegally, and with ICE as your big stick you’d send those who have come here say from the Northern Triangle in search of asylum, in search of a better life for their families, you’d send them back to their homes in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
What I really think is that all wars, wars of words or actions, are not at all necessary, and if they continue to exist it’s because we haven’t looked closely at our reasons for waging war, meaning taking one side or the other. About immigration, for example. We would only need to adopt a different belief about people, the belief that there is only one people, and that we are all one and the same people. If we did that why would we ever want to shut ourselves off from others, close our lands and minds and hearts to others just like us, people with the same nature, the same DNA, the different colors being of no more significance than the different clothes we might be wearing. And why would we not share with people who are asking us for asylum, what we have in such abundance?
OK, we’re not there yet. We’re a long way from being there. And now the Supreme Court is being used as another way of separating us. But there is nothing more real, is there, than our being all the same. To bring that dream of a global society about we need only to work on the meaning of our sameness, to help ourselves and others to understand what that means. But, and that’s a big but, there are still too many who reject our sameness (our being creatures of the same species homo) and who want to go on “strengthening” what they see as our precious differences, the color of our skin, the external trappings of our religions, and what they see as the one and only permissible marriage, that between a man and a woman.
(Hey, think for a minute, a man and a woman, aren’t they more the same than different? Why would two men or two women being together be somehow less acceptable than a man and a woman being together? Are external physical characteristics or traits ultimately that which determines who we are, let alone what we can or cannot do? For many evidently they still are.)
I wanted a picture and by a Google search I found this one, but I really don’t understand it. Explanations?