It’s a new year and many altruistic and hopeful people out there, myself included, are longing for world peace. But I temper that aspiration with the understanding that such a utopian state will never occur until we, the human race, can address fundamental societal and geopolitical issues. Namely: Conservation and fair distribution of essential resources, tackling preventable famine and disease; educating a majority of the world’s population (especially women); protecting the fundamental human and civil rights of all people; establishing a credible, functional, and just rule of law on all levels; replacing authoritarian regimes with representative democracies; eliminating extreme poverty with sustainable development initiatives; addressing extreme and growing income inequality; significantly reducing the global arms trade; disavowing political assassinations; confronting religious extremism; and stopping terrorism.
A tall order? Yes, no doubt. But I remain hopeful because I believe that every man-made problem has a man-made solution. And even when natural forces are out of our control, the global community has proven itself capable of rallying to the aid of the most affected people (in recent memory: Japan, Haiti, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, China). Instead of hoping to see all these steps achieved in 2012 — or perhaps even in my lifetime — I’d be happy to see progress made in each of these vital areas and the formation of a global consciousness which prioritizes peace.
In the meantime, let’s aim for something much more manageable, the unnecessary and trivial use of the word “war” when describing something significantly different or much less severe. I was honored when this blog was mentioned and linked to from an article in the Christian Science Monitor last September by Jeremy Shapiro called “Class warfare. War on teachers. War on business. War in America?” Jeremy shows us that the American political discourse has become rife with hyperbole and hostility and that the “war” metaphor is used thrown around quite liberally; often winning media coverage and riling voters. The left accuses the right of a “war” on the poor, the middle class, on the elderly, on public employees; while the right accuses the left of “war” on business, family, values and “class warfare.” “Read the article here.
In 2012, let’s stop needlessly throwing around the word “war.” There are much better ways to make your point than accusing your political/ideological opponents of “war.” Real war is serious, somber, and horrifying business… it cheapens the true nature of war by calling a debate over nativity scene and the separation of church in state a “War on Christmas.” Fox News, take heed.