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    Get Your War On

    challenge posed by Bruce Watson 64 days 13 hours 24 minutes ago

    Category: Politics
    Challenge Forum

    Get Your War On

    In a recent campaign ad, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin loaded up his shotgun and literally took aim at an anti-Obamacare bill. Think about that for a sec: a national politician and former governor loaded a shotgun on TV and blew a hole in a piece of legislation. This follows a former ad in which Manchin took aim at some of the “bad parts” of Obamacare and shot them, too.

    Talk about your militant imagery!

    It’s not surprising that Manchin used guns to woo voters: America loves to wage war. There are our real wars, of course -- Afghanistan, Iraq, possibly Iran -- and then there are the metaphorical ones, like the war on drugs, the war on terror, the wars on women or men, on gangs and guns and coal and Christmas.

    These wars have had mixed effects. For most of us, the most visible effect of the war on terror is that we are filled with terror every time we see an unattended bag at an airport. As for the war on drugs, it doesn’t seem to have done much to halt the ever-rising tide of opiate overdoses.

    Worse yet, these “wars” also tend to pit us against each other, often without our consent. The gender war, for example, suggests a good side and a bad side, a villain(ess) and a hero(ine). Often, we’re automatically placed on one side or another based on our biology, not beliefs. And, even if we’re able to factor in our beliefs, the “war” metaphor assumes that we’re all in or we’re all out, that all of our values fit into column A or column B. There’s no room to pick and choose your values or -- better yet! -- demand a little nuance in your political beliefs.

    All too often, our “wars” give us clear-cut battles, at the expense of a realistic assessment of a larger problem. The war on gangs, for example, focuses on whether gangs are good or bad, not their underlying causes or the policies that could address those causes. The “war” between football players and NFL teams frames the issue as a battle over kneeling, not a question of the impact of institutionalized racism and police violence in the US.

    So, are you ready to take on war?

    Your Challenge:

    Think about one of our many cultural wars and skirmishes. Address some of the rhetoric surrounding the war -- the generalizations laying out the various sides, for example -- and then take a stab at addressing the more nuanced issues that underly the rhetoric. Suggest a better, more effective way to address the situation.

    Re: Get Your War On

    Hi Bruce!

    If I were to choose a recent “war” in America, it would be the war on immigration. The president has closed the Mexican-American borders in full force, resulting in multiple separations and abuse allegations accusing the border patrol of mistreating the immigrants, separated families and missing children, and deportation of parents without their children – or even knowing where they are located as some have been reported several states away.

    The mission behind is obviously to stop terrorism from illegal immigrants; yet the underlying effect is on the vast majority of people who are not terrorists, criminals, or drug lords. The effect is on the children who don’t know how to live their lives without their mothers and are now forced to follow people with guns and believe they are protected. The effect is on the people who want to come to our country to attend college, as we have many of the best in the world; yet after going home to visit for summer break, they are not allowed to return. The effect is on government resources, because all the increased border patrol and additional measurements is costing the country millions of dollars.

    What I don’t understand is that while Trump is excluding travel from certain countries as a measure to prevent terrorism, why hasn’t he secured the Canadian border? Does he realize that most of the terrorists are now coming in through Canada, and there’s a strong presence of terrorists right above the America’s northern states?
    What am I saying? Of course he doesn’t, he’s Donald Trump! Have a great day!

    Re: Get Your War On

    Hello Bruce,

    I'll talk about the "war on drugs".

    The war on drugs is interesting because the enemy to be fought is objects. When the war on drugs began, it was fought militantly, but these crack downs mostly ended up hurting people and communities already affected by the tragedies that come with drug addiction. The war was not really aiming to stop drugs at all, but to jail addicts, most of which were underprivileged people of color. Even though science did not and still does not back up conviction and punishment as an effective treatment for drug addiction and many studies suggest that prison time actually increases the chances of relapse once people get out and increases the chance of starting or continuing to deal drugs.

    The drugs targeted were also those done by lower income individuals, like crack and marijuana, and not those done by more affluent people, like cocaine.

    Because of these factors, I would say that the "war on drugs" is actually an excuse to incarcerate the poor, and people of color, especially those that fall under both categories. Drugs should almost be left out of the name for it entirely, as the "war" being fought does not effectively stop drug use, sale, or addiction, and arguably isn't trying to do so at all.

    Thank you for the topic,

    - Anna

    Re: Get Your War On

    The war on guns. The argument over gun control isn't merely about safety. It's about identity. The gun has become more than a weapon. It's become a cultural marker. The conflict between political and cultural factions has turned into economic warfare. Opponents of private ownership of guns pressure businesses to end relations with the NRA. The culture war has hardened the sides rather than hand anybody victory.

    The term assault weapon is a thorn in the side of gun enthusiasts who argue that the differences between assault weapons and other semi-automatics are cosmetic and don't increase the gun's lethality. But tell this to anyone who has experienced a mass shooting. The issue is because these guns are considered ordinary rifles, it is hard for legislators to regulate them without banning half the handguns in this country including those that are semiautomatic and/or have detachable magazines and many hunting rifles as well. Tighter screening and mandatory reporting for mental health problems also is on the forefront of topics for gun reform change but that has its own drawbacks. Mental health professionals think it will deter people from seeking help and will stigmatize the mentally ill. It also it denies them their Second Amendment rights. The goal is to get them help they need, but at what cost should they be able to exercise their right to bear arms? Universal background checks that would require gun owners to run private sales through government databases have also been discussed, but there's no real way to enforce them. To complicate matters is the expense of the government's record keeping of that database. Another layer of complexity is 3D printing which make manufacturing of printing guns an easy and untraceable process.

    On one side, guns represent violence, and a perspective to protect oneself from external threats. On the other side, guns represent safety, security, and self-sufficiency. There is some common ground however and that is nearly everyone is for safety and against senseless death. The desire for safety is basic and universal. The disagreement is over whether guns actually make one safer. The gun control argument is about fears. Some are afraid of being shot while others are afraid of losing control over their lives in a more comprehensive sense. That latter fear is deeper and winning. The war on guns will continue to be a battle with no solution. America needs to stop being so self serving and figure this out!


    Re: Get Your War On

    Hi Bruce,

    Ok, I will attempt to tackle the war between NFL owners and players.

    You are correct in the assessment that it has become the war of kneeling vs not kneeling when that is not the real issue at all. The players have an agenda (racism and police violence), but I think the way they went about protesting didn't make their point and actually changed the issue into one they probably didn't intend.

    I wish that the players and the NFL team owners would get together and figure out how to fix the real problem instead of being at war with each other. Perhaps if they would fund a foundation to educate police about people of color, and to give a lift up to people of color so that they will not take to the streets (that seems to be where all this violence is taking place) it would go a long way to solving the issue. I give a shout out to Lebron James for his I Promise school for at-risk kids in the Akron, OH area. And, he is funding a college education at University of Akron for those who graduate his I Promise school. I wonder what would happen if all the professional sports owners and players would do something like that in their cities. What a difference that could make!!

    Thanks for the forum!


    Re: Get Your War On

    Hi Bruce,
    While I agree with most of your topic, I don't exactly think the "war on drugs" fits this topic. People are dying on a daily basis due to drug overdoses. There is a significant heroin epidemic and an opioid crisis. Addiction is a real thing and the physical and mental harm drugs cause is catastrophic. As a society, why would we not want to try and get this crap off the streets and away from our children? Maybe because I have a closer relationship to people who deal with drug abuse on a daily basis and have seen soo many children come in to foster care because their parents neglected them and left them to go get high or babies being born in this world already addicted to crack. If you don't think that's a problem then you are oblivious to the reality we live in.

    Any person that questions if there is a drug problem in America, I recommend you get ahold of your local foster care agency and just see how many children are in care right now or how many children didn't eat or lived in filth because their parents were too busy getting high or spending their last money on drugs.

    This is a sad reality we live in and it needs way more attention. It also certainly shouldn't be grouped with topics that our ignorant president likes to argue on Twitter.


    Re: Get Your War On

    I'd like to point out the "war on women" and the "war on men". The war on women is said to come from politicians wanting to cut back on women's rights to their bodies, such as access to abortion and other reproductive rights. I've noticed that things like the #MeToo movement is considered to be a war on men, as some men are saying that a simple accusation, even if it's false, will ruin a man's career, and they're looking at feminist based policies and the encouragement of women to enter more male-dominated fields as being against males. The issue with the two "wars" is simple, as they tie in together. There have been cases where politicians don't even understand how important some reproductive services are, and it's even more embarrassing when Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court, doesn't even know the difference between abortion pills and contraception pills! There is a lack of education surrounding that, and I think that if people were more educated on why such services are needed, then this wouldn't be a problem. I've seen videos where people were die hard protesters at abortion clinics, but they changed their perspective when they had an in depth conversation with women who had actually had abortions and realized the truth of it all.

    The same goes with the "war on men". Some men are scared that a simple hug might lead a woman to scream "he assaulted/sexually harassed me!", when really that isn't the case at all. Education is key in what behaviors are appropriate and which ones are not, and people have to understand that the #MeToo movement isn't about purposely damaging the careers of men, it's about calling out the predators and the experiences that people have had to face. Trump didn't help when he claimed that the MeToo movement was oversensitive and hysterical (then again, he has a lot of women against him that can share their MeToo moments, so that's probably why he doesn't like it), but actual education on the matter would be a huge help.

    Re: Get Your War On

    Hi Bruce,

    One war that I believe is in its infancy is the war on water. Global and local water issues may already reach the threshold for becoming a war, although it’s not always consistently thought of as war. In my opinion, I think the war has begun, and will only intensify in the coming years. Many people already believe the next world war will be fought over water. Rivers cross political boundaries sparking contentions, and as we grow more industrious our water gets polluted. Then we have our population dilemma where proponents argue our population is at it’s carrying capacity jeopardizing our environment. More people means more water. Similarity more affluence translates to more water usage. Just picture the Belagio fountain spewing water into the heated desert sky. Only 3 percent of our water can be used for human consumption. That leaves the majority unusable for most practices. As water grows scarce, contentions will arise and seem to be budding out in a war that will bloom when the conditions are right.

    I’m in a class called Water and Socitey at my local university. We’ve recently been studying some of the history of water in our country. It is well known that John Wesley Powell, a famous explorer, anticipated our current water dilemmas of today. One of his ideas I like that could resolve some of the water issues is his idea of configuring political boundaries to match water sheds boundaries. With this philosophy states’ boundaries would be where the watershed changes. Every state would look different, but you would avoid trans boundary water conflicts. Powell foreknew that our country, particularity wasn’t cut out to have large populations. Just look at the Colorado river basin, a desert area, yet home to 1 in 10 Americans. Despite Powell’s pleas the government seems to have favored an unwise quest to fulfill our manifest destiny.

    Currently, it seems capitalism and affluence instigates our war on water, at least in America. Other countries have a plethora of water issues from sanitation to not having enough, but that gets complicated and I’d rather address the issues relatable to us. If we weren’t as consumeristic as we are I think many of our environmental and social problems would alleviate. The American dream encourages frivolous water usage. A mansion with a fountain in the front, a large pool, and lush green grass, are all sought after here. But do we really need all this? I’d love to continue, but I’m out of words!


    Re: Get Your War On

    Good morning Bruce,

    I would like to weigh in on the war on civility. It may not be a war of the magnitude that you mentioned in your post. But, maybe it is as it underlies everyone of those situations!

    I define civility as the ability to treat other people politely in a socially acceptable way regardless of whether you like them or not. It is treating them respectfully whether or not you agree with their views or decisions. When did it becomes okay to belittle, berated and abuse others for not having an opinion just like that your own? When did people start believing that their own personal belief is right; as if everything can be viewed as right or wrong! Do people even understand that an opinion is literally just that; one way of seeing an issue?

    Disagreement is a daily part of life! Cordial discord should be part of it too! I think a little healthy debate is fun! I love to make and hear a good point of view! I am okay with disagreeing with others. There are many and varied thoughts and opinions on every topic. I can disagree with people on a belief or issue and not hate you as a human being. In fact, I can still respect and even like you! I might not agree with your political views, but I can admire your passion. I can admire your commitment to philanthropic causes, your commitment to raising your children, your sense of humor or I might really appreciate your killer sense of style.

    Not everything is an all or nothing situation. I wish people would try to separate dislike for a view or issue from the person. I think perspective is everything. Perhaps if people spent some time trying to learn about why others think the way they do, they might see what led them to a belief or stance on a situation. Don't rush to judgment and leave right versus wrong out of the equation!

    I always think of the time, energy and resources that are wasted on discord. Imagine what we could do if all of that was funneled towards meeting in the middle; finding common ground that makes a difference and actually helps the underlying issue at hand!

    Thank you for the forum and for reading my reply!


    Re: Get Your War On

    I hate that everything has to be a "war'. I think it's insulting to anyone who's lived in a war zone or seen actual combat. The only way these Theory Wars resemble actual armed conflict is that they negatively impact innocent civilians and often pit us against one another as the challenger has so eloquently stated.

    I think its wildly inappropriate for a lawmaker to make such a grotesque display with regard to politics. Lawmakers are supposed to be composed and use rational debate to serve public interests, not create terror campaigns and exercise artistic liberties. It cheapens the message he's trying to convey and makes me even more ashamed of our representatives than I already am.