Monday, December 31, 2012

Word of The Year: "War"

Has anyone else noticed the media's hyperbolic use of the word "war" to describe every debate, disagreement, difference of opinion? Its use began as a startling, ear-catching sound bite designed to grab attention. Now there's a war on religion, on women, on Christmas, on human rights, on reproductive rights, and so on. It reminds me of my teenager's complaint that I "yelled" at her if I express a differing opinion. 

Have we become so sensitive that we can't even express a differing opinion without it being deemed a war-like action? I mean, respectfully speaking (not personal attacks). It's kind of ridiculous to frame everything from a standpoint of military action.

A dictatorship considers differing opinions subversion, war, treason. As inflammatory a statement as that is, the concept of labeling every difference of opinion a war reminds me of how dictatorships methodically and intentionally program people's way of thinking. "If you're not for us, you're against us."

It tends to normalize what is hopefully NOT a normal mindset. I realize there are wars and rumors of war, etc., until the end of time. I understand that sports are pseudo-wars, and so on. But perhaps it is time - or past time - to set aside a blanket acceptance of persisting in a warlike state? When a culture throws around a word so casually, its meaning is weakened. "War" needs to conjure death and destruction, something undesirable, to be avoided, averted, and so on -- not "Oh well, we don't like that so let's call it a war."

And now some people suggest we intentionally place uniformed military personnel in our schools in order to make them safer? Half the world has uniformed military personnel all over the place, and that presence unequivocally fails to stop car bombings, shootings, drones, and other violence.

We need to normalize, not escalate.

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