Friday, January 11, 2008

Escalation to Nowhere

This was written for an essay contest, the prompt claiming experts had decided world relations were degenerating

So the “experts” have come to the conclusion the world is just going to get worse. According to these men and women, there will be more violence, more war, more suffering. To me, this seems more than just a little pessimistic, it’s wrong.

Granted, there has always been strife. In its circa 200 years of existence, the United States has fought a dozen wars. The regionalist terrorists of Spain bomb their fellow Spaniards. The battles in the Middle East stretch back to Biblical times. And these are just some of the countless conflicts on the large scale. Even in 2007, even in this country, there is domestic violence. There are still parents who beat their spouses in front of their children, or even those children. Worse things do occur, but need not be discussed here. You get the point: there is violence. This is part of the human condition, a sad fact of life. After all, we aren’t perfect, but to say things are just going to get worse is erroneous, not to mention the easy way out.

While there is still fighting (obviously), there is less than imaginable. Congress is talking about taking the troops out of Iraq, more or less. Conflicts in Eastern Europe and Ireland have deescalated. The world is finally waking up to the heaped tragedy of Darfur, and it is taking action. We now have films such as Invisible Children to alert us of the wars in Africa. I have seen billboards urging people to check a box on their taxes to give of their money to domestic violence prevention. At least, it may help end the cycle of violence in homes. As we look around, we can see effort and results thereof to end violence.

There is more than the practical view, though. By declaring our planet a battlefield, we wash our hands of responsibility. We disavow our children’s futures to be grief-stricken and without promise. Certainly it is hard here, but we are learning. As the world gets smaller and smaller as we trade thoughts and concepts with other cultures, we will learn how to care for each other. As I go to class with students of diametrically different backgrounds than my own, as we read more stories from other cultures, as international trade increases, this is being accomplished. As these things happen, we will learn how to care for ourselves. Until then, yes, we have growing pains, but as we make the effort to learn and love there can be less war, less pain, less heartache. I suppose you could call it a “bloodless revolution.”

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