Lest We Forget? War and the Cost.


November 11, 2018

Wars have, in many ways, shaped our world and defined the borders we’ve put up.

Wars have dictated how we live our lives based on the rules of combat and dependent upon who our leader was and who won the battle.  Here in Canada, we’ve been fortunate.

It is the strategy of becoming the most effective killing machine on a collective basis with your troops sent out to take out the enemy.

Our enemy, which does and will likely always exist, wants to silence us.  Our enemy doesn’t want us to think freely or prosper.  Nor do they want us to be educated.

Our enemy wants to suppress our existence into what they dictate we should or shouldn’t think or feel, and to serve their wants and needs and not our own.

Humans are something of a malleable lot indeed.

A persuasive leader and/or dictator can and has convinced the masses under his charge that they are better than those that he opposes or that oppose him.

After all, why should the world not be led by one egocentric ideology?

The thing is, no one race of humans is superior over another.

Yet sadly this line of thinking continues on.  Could it be a factor in our genome?  Were we ‘programmed’ to believe we must conquer those we deem a threat or that we view as being beneath us?

All I know is now and what precipitated our recent history and what we seek to protect.

And there is much to protect.

We are not perfect, nor will we ever be.  Perfection is, after all, an illusion.

Still if we are willing to change for the common good of all, if we are open to reconciling past grievances, if we accept that we’ve made poor judgments…that is a start, isn’t it?

The last few years the term white privilege has been used substantially.

And I will confess, when I first heard this term, I took offense.

My life has not been filled with privilege per sae.  I’ve not had an easy life.

Then I got to thinking.  This isn’t about me.  And perhaps that’s part of the problem.  A comment is made and bam…we go on the defensive.

It is a fact that people with white skin have advantages in society that  people of colour do not have.

 

Being a woman I identify with the ‘me too’ movement on a personal level having suffered far too many abuses.

Did I go to the authorities and demand justice for these offenses?  No.

Why?  Shame and the guilt that I had somehow ‘invited and deserved’ such mistreatment.  I now know I did not deserve such abuse and no one does.

I work daily to emerge wholly from the pains of the past and rise to be a better person.

Understanding, reckoning, and forgiving those who’ve done the hurting and forgiving myself as well.

Could we possibly forget the sacrifices made by those who’ve gone to war and paid the ultimate price for the prosperity and comforts we now enjoy?

I hope not.

Still, let’s look at where we are.

We live in world of excess.  Technology has become the driving force in our world today.  South of the Canadian border Americans are being sold once again on the ‘American Dream’.

Don’t we all want to have a place to call home, a good job and children that will have a better life ahead of them than their parents did?  Don’t we all want that security?

Of course we do, but at who’s expense?

In my youth the ‘dream’ of having a little house with a picket fence, modern appliances and husband with a good job along with a couple of children is what I was encouraged to become.  A house wife.  Didn’t happen.

Doing well in school wasn’t really necessary for a girl at that time.  Knowing how to cook, clean, and mend clothing, better yet if you could sew, were taught in schools.  If a woman was going to go out into the workforce, she should type or take dictation.  Administrative jobs with low pay and long hours were the offerings of the day.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s though, the women’s liberation movement began to demand equality on every level with their counterparts.

Sexuality, economics, and wage parity have been at the forefront for quite some time now.

Back in the day bras were burned, protests held and marches were made in abundance.

And for every step forward women have met resistance.

Is it any wonder that we didn’t come forward with the wrongs that we’d experienced?

We watched women such Anita Hill be persecuted in her attempt to have congress really think about appointing Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.  And considering what just took place with Brett Kavanagh, not much has changed in that particular institution, now has it?

One of the most confounding things for me is this love affair American’s have with their guns.

They don’t see that the availability to guns is perhaps an issue.  Why?

And when a man walks into a synagogue and cuts down twelve people.  Call it what it is.  A hate crime.

This is not about mental health issues.

This is about hate.  This is about a current president who, with the continuous diarrhea of rhetorical crap falling from his mouth, has encouraged this type of behavior.

And mass shootings are on the rise in the U.S. and sadly the mention of gun control increases the divide.

Both my grandfather and my father served in the war.

My grandfather in World War 1 and my father in World War 2.

I think of those who fought in wars and I can imagine they must have been scared.

My father never spoke of the war.  Any inquiries made were met with a stony silence.  The glare that followed indicated I should never ask about such things.  Not ever.

And I didn’t.

Still, there those moments when dad was really drunk and things slipped out that gave me a glimpse of his nightmares, his hell.

‘Al – I hate this!  I want to get the fuck out of here Al.  Come on, let’s get the fuck out of here!

Silence.

‘Al?’

Silence.

‘Al – Where your fucking head, Al?!  Al!  Where’s your fucking head!’

It was moments such as this, and they were few and far between, that later enabled me to begin to equate the true cost of war.

It’s not just surviving. He came home with nightmares and a hell that he remained in and they became ours.  He acted out his aggressions in a very violent manner toward his family.

The effects of war continue to trickle into our lives, sometimes flooding us with despair.

No, we cannot forget the cost of war.

Still I wonder if we will ever know peace.

These days one can only imagine.

 

 

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