War and Solving the World’s Problems

“Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”
Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995

 

I was looking back through my blog today and ran across this quote.  It stopped me in my tracks the first time and it did again today. The world is rife with War. Every day some conflict seems to break out somewhere in the world, ending with more innocent people killed or maimed, their lives and homes destroyed.

Are we thinking about War wrong? Might makes right. The winner writes the history. The strongest survives.

But, as Calvin wisely asked his Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?

How indeed? This is one of those questions parents dread. How do you explain war to a child whose innocence you wish to protect? Should we even explain this nasty business to a child or is this one of those times for ‘you’ll understand when you get older?’

Okay, so no, we shouldn’t terrorize children with the concept and reality of war. But if we don’t start teaching them better ways to solve the world’s problems, nothing is going to change.

Man is a violent species. We’re not so different from lions or wolves or alligators. We protect our species from any perceived threat, whether real or not. Every species protests its own, even rabbits. Mice. Maybe amoebas for all I know.

The reality, however, is that we no longer consider ourselves one species. Humans have gone off the scale. Male lions fight for dominion over the pride, but they don’t go killing every other male lion on the plain just because they are male.

Why do we go that extra mile to kill everything which gets in our way, doesn’t think our way, or lives, believes or looks differently. Why have we separated our species into the right and the wrong, the weak or the strong, the human or the non-human.

We’re at war with everything. Ourselves. Our neighbors. The others just across the boundary line. Pollution. Melting Icebergs. Who controls the wealth. Who goes hungry or homeless or without medical care.

How are soldiers killing each other solving these problems?

Truth is, they’re not. We’re not. We’re not solving the problems which matter. We are just creating more division, more dividing lines, more conflict.

War never ends war. Violence only begets more  violence.

Turn that around and peace only begets peace. Living in harmony makes us one again; makes us whole.

Don’t get me wrong. I honor and respect those men and women who willing sacrifice their lives and limbs and days to protect baseball, mom and apple pie, but don’t be fooled. We are no different from the rest of the world. We’ve separated our selves into the American species and might does make right.

How are those soldiers dying and suffering for us solving the world’s problems?

We try, of course we do, but one narrow opening for peace doesn’t defeat war.

War will only be defeated when we, all of us in every town and house and country, rich or poor, homeless or living in a huge mansion, stand together and say ‘Enough.’ When collectively we say nobody should have to fight or die because of our differences.

When we declare we will no longer fight. We will honor our species – every single member of our species – with the basic needs of life. Food. Water. Shelter.

How are soldiers killing each other solving the problems of food, water and shelter?

I am an American and I love my country. I don’t know anything about being Chinese or Russian or French. But you are all my species. These difference don’t make us different. They make us human.

So, next time your neighbor pisses you off, somebody cuts you off in traffic or breaks in front of you in line, ask yourself, “How do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”

It starts here.

Let’s make history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taken for Granted 4-22-2018

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It’s hard to remember the things which come easily and abundantly into our lives might not be abundant in other people’s lives. For example, I take for granted I will have someplace to go, to live, to be safe and secure between walls and roof and floor. But how many other people, both in America and beyond, don’t have the safety and security of a place to live?

Probably more than I could ever imagine, since I can’t even image what it would it be like to be homeless. I’m sure it won’t be like Sam in My Side of the Mountain or Claudia From the Mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. If homelessness was running away to live in the woods for a year or running away to live in a museum, I’d be all over that. I’ve always wanted to run away to live in the woods, with a nice cozy tree to live in and a pet falcon. And I’ve always wanted to live in a museum. Or a tree-house.

See, those are my fantasies from childhood. Maybe another child fantasized about living in a house with four walls, heat, AC and a working kitchen and bathroom. Maybe another child fantasized about hot dogs and beans.

I take for granted I will always have food to eat, if I can just figure out what – in all the choices available – I’d like to eat. There are people in the world who don’t have that choice. Often they have to choose between eating or some other necessarily of life.

So many things we take for granted. Without even thinking about it, I can walk into a store and buy a drink and some chips. Not everyone can.

I can stay warm inside my house. I can stay cool. I can stay dry. Not everyone can.

I can go to school. I can choose to continue education. I can choose to move anywhere I want. I know that if I walk from my house to my car, I am normally fairly safe. I can work in my backyard without being afraid. I can go out to eat, see a movie, decided to take a trip, make some popcorn, take a flight, go to a ballgame or anywhere else I might wish to go or anything I might wish to do.

But not everybody is so lucky. I’m sure that, even in my neighborhood, there are people who do not have the same freedoms and luxuries I enjoy.

How do we fix this problem? I don’t know, but I do know that every single step we take forward, each time one of us ripples the universe with a gesture of love and acceptance and togetherness, the entire world takes a step forward. I can’t feed the children in Africa, but I can help feed the children in my own town.

I can remember those things which come easily for me, don’t come so easily for all. I can open my hand and my heart to let little bits of my ‘things’ free for others.

If each of us, the hundreds and thousands and millions of us, opened our hands and our hearts to let little bits of love and hope and caring free, we might not recognize the world when we wake up tomorrow.

What an answer to all our prayers!