Our Nation at Wars

Is the U.S. a nation soon to be without a war?  We pulled out of Iraq in December 2011 and have been drawing down the troops in Afghanistan.  The Obama administration has favored diplomacy to armed conflict, at least in theory.  But unfortunately, or actually maybe fortunately, the answer is a resounding NO.  We will forever be at war on terrorism, because we need a good enemy, and terror is a great enemy because it’s not a country, or people, but an idea, an enemy for life, some might even say a convenient enemy in that terror will keep the military industrial complex alive.  But apart from the war in Afghanistan, and the war on terrorism, we are a peaceful nation right?  Not so fast.

We are actually a warring nation involved in more conflicts at this very moment I dare say than any other nation on the planet.  It’s what we do, especially in an election year.  So, in addition to the wars in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism, here are ten other wars we are currently waging; raging wars you could say.

  1. The Culture Wars: these include the war on science: creationism vs. evolution, and debate over the causes of global warming; gun rights vs. gun control and the constitutional implications therein; gay marriage, including the definition of marriage; the war on union rights; death penalty politics, crime vs. punishment, punishment vs. rehabilitation and racial inequalities in the criminal justice system; affirmative action debates; hoodies and Stand Your Ground laws such as the one in Florida that is being examined in the Trayvon Martin murder case; white flight from public schools; English first movements demanding English be the one and only official language and homeschooling, not so much a war, as a statement of some sort.
  2. Environmental Wars:  An inconvenient truth, but truth nonetheless that climate is changing and not for the better which is part of a GOP led war on mother earth: blast, frack and drill til there ain’t nothing left.  The GOP is against regulations, such as the FDA, which safeguards the food and drug supply and the EPA which works to promote clean water and air.
  3. The War on Women:  There is GOP opposition to the Lily Ledbetter Act which requires equal pay for equal work; the conservative fight to limit women’s access to health care and reproductive services including contraception.  In a recent development, the GOP denounced Hilary Rosen for attacking Ann Romney for never having worked a day in her life (outside the home).  In fact, Ms. Romney has worked tirelessly to raise 5 boys and according to Mitt, “reports” to him on women’s economic issues.  Reports to him.  Good grief.
  4. The War on Caterpillars: the GOP head Reince Priebus suggested this possible war that may not be too far off if GOP science deniers continue to block bills and regulations that could slow global warming.
  5. The War on Immigrants:  talk of building more fences and deporting all the undocumented; requiring English proficiency tests for elected officials; bans on ethnic studies; dismantlement of bilingual programs; opposition to the Dream Act; profiling laws such as the one in Arizona and on and on….
  6. Storage Wars:  A reality show on A&E
  7. Class Warfare:  The GOP argues that any discussion of income inequality equals class warfare, making it sound as if the 99% are dangerous Bolsheviks or Marxists bent on some sort of radical revolution.  The other side, closer to truth in my opinion, is the GOP war on the middle class.
  8. The War on the Constitution:  The radical 5 on the SCOTUS have reinvented the constitution to preserve, empower and protect big corporations as if they were people.  Now there are laws that limit civil rights including GOP voter suppression laws that squelch democracy and gun laws that rather than control, promote violence such as the Stand Your Ground laws in the “great” states of Texas and Florida.  Having lived in Texas, I must confess to having a soft spot for the state and prefer, for the most part, not to mess with it too much.
  9. The War on Religion:  This one is complicated and a little difficult to sort out.  There’s the war on separation of church and state – creationism creeping into the schools, demands for school prayers in public schools; and there are the politically correct wars – Happy Holidays as opposed to Merry Christmas and conversely schools celebrating all religious high holidays such that kids are only going to school for something like 40 days out of the year.  The fundamentalist evangelical born again Christians support only candidates that believe in the right to life and that the world is 300 years old or something silly like that.  The evangelical bible bangers won’t support Romney because he is a Mormon but will vote for him because they despise  President Obama (awfully Christian of them) who some assert is not a Christian, but rather a Muslim or as one elderly woman insisted, an Arab – remember the woman who made that comment to John McCain?  And there is the somewhat manufactured war on Catholics institutions, who cannot subsidize contraception, but would have been required to do so under the Affordable Care Act.
  10. The War on Drugs:  This war has been raging for years to no good effect.  However, there have been some changing attitudes that have led to decriminalization laws, medical marijuana dispensaries and dens, a/k/a medical head shops, and stricter regulations on addictive opiates, growth hormones and steroids, particularly those used as performance enhancers in sports that turn players into the Incredible Hulk.

And we will continue warring, thanks in large part to political parties that keep us polarized, because that’s what we do.  Although I believe peace is patriotic, if we all lived in perfect harmony, life would not be so interesting and the blogosphere might even disappear.  That would suck.

War On Caterpillars and the Band Heart

Butterfly at Indiana Dunes

In response to a question about the Republican war on women that has created an enormous gender gap problem for the GOP, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that “if the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars”.  Of course this was a terribly insensitive analogy, comparing women to insects, and though it was a genuinely stupid comment, I don’t think it was calculated to offend.  However, the GOP might really have a problem with caterpillars if they continue to dismiss climate change science.

It turns out that warmer summers can cause an infestation of caterpillars who shed their skins and release tiny hairs that are major skin irritants.  On the Isle of Wight, a caterpillar infestation was so bad that people were warned to stay indoors and wear protective body suits and masks when venturing out.  Doctors advised the use of Calamine lotion to combat skin rashes.

But all this talk of caterpillars takes me back in time to one of my all-time favorite albums, Dog and Butterfly by Heart, one of the great rock bands of the 70’s led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.  Dog and Butterfly is a underrated masterpiece  and one that I always had spinning (pun intended) on my turntable as a teen.