Declaring war on wars

Michael Alcorn, Hitting Home
Posted

That’s it. I’ve had it. It’s time to declare war. I am officially declaring the War on the Wars on Things.

We have to stop it. We’re just not very good at it, and it wastes a lot of time and resources.

First, there was the War on Poverty, declared by Lyndon Johnson some 50 years ago. We throw money at it, we have government programs, and yet, for some crazy reason, poverty persists.

More Americans are in poverty now than they’ve been in a long time, and all of our efforts have been for naught.

In some places, poverty is persistent and gets handed down from mother to child, like luggage. In fact, just last week the Food and Drug Administration said that there were more than 50 million Americans now on food stamps — and they said that like it was a good thing!

In other words, poverty just declared victory. Things 1, America 0.

When I was a kid, we initiated the all-important War on Drugs. Among our more brilliant strategies in this particular war was the idea of paying off drug producers in Central America to not grow their cocaine crops.

More recently, we’ve tried actually giving guns to the drug lords in Mexico in the hopes that we can trace those guns to the “queen bees”, presumably to facilitate the process of paying off a new generation of growers.

But, for all our genius, drugs persist. And now we live in a state that has voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Things 2, America 0.

Of course, recent years have brought us the War on Terror.

In the 11-plus years since we joined this particular war, we have managed to keep any terrorist attacks from landing on American shores again, so maybe we can chalk this one up. Then again, terror was waging war on us for about 20 years before we joined the fight, and it’s hard to imagine what it will actually look like when this war is over, so ... call it a draw, pending instant replay review?

Things 2, America 0, ties 1.

And, of course, the last campaign brought us the Republican War on Women. Talk about your futile efforts.

For one thing, the Republicans didn’t even know they’d declared war; for another thing, there’s just no good evidence of said war. Women make up 60 percent of all college students — women are kicking men’s butts! Plus, if women really wanted to, they could absolutely rule the world.

The reality is that declaring “war” has become nothing more than a political tool to galvanize public support.

The problem with that is twofold: One, it sort of trivializes the idea of war; and two, when we do try to rally the population around big things and lose, it adds to our sense of haplessness.

Let’s just keep things simple and stop dramatizing.

It would make it a lot easier to find actual solutions, and, as a competitor, I would like that scoreboard to stop being such an embarrassment.

Michael Alcorn is a music teacher and fitness instructor who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. He graduated from Alameda High School and the University of Colorado-Boulder.