1. That they exist. World, thumb, others.
  2. That I am going to fight them.
  3. That I have been fighting them.
  4. That I am going to announce more specifically which ones I am talking about, and my proposed battle plans.

War rhetoric is everywhere. And the world is full of wars, literal and figurative. Much has been said about the difficulty in declaring wars on nouns. And also the difficulty of declaring and fighting wars on countries and ideologies and the like.

In a moment of convenience The Edge column in the Oregonian had a piece called the “The war on everything” a few days ago that gave a quick quiz about which wars were real and which were fake. Here is a list of “real” wars that it provided: The war on…Christmas, terrorism, poverty, the poor, the rich, the middle class, Easter, Labor Day, Arbor Day, women, disco.

This is ignoring some. I hear a lot about the wars on guns or the Second Amendment or freedom or Christians or intellectuals or liberals or conservatives or good old fashioned American values or (insert thing you care about here) and other silliness. This is not mentioning the wars with the bullets and the bombs and the dying. Certainly raising the rhetoric to make things analogous to the horrors of war shouldn’t be done lightly, maybe it shouldn’t be done.

I have felt for the longest time that I was in some kind of training. Not sure for what. To wage war against stupid or boredom or illiteracy or negativity or ignorance or logic or low test scores or technology or greed or consumerism or weak vocabulary or unnecessary words or false narratives or something else entirely. It is clear that worthy causes are everywhere. It is not clear, to me, where my energy is best spent. There are battles worth fighting. I believe this. I feel this every day at school, and every day not at school. So I will name what I am fighting, and how.

I will choose my battles intentionally and explicitly. It is probably important to overhaul the health care system and do something about Wall Street and all of that strange stuff we have going on with chemicals and food, etc. But I probably won’t do much about that directly. I won’t lead the charge. But in other places I think I might.

Two stories.

  1. Camp Adair. The United States decides to enter World War II. A few miles from where I sit now, a small town was moved, and farm fields quickly became the second largest city in Oregon. Camp Adair turned into a bustling training headquarters with over 100,000 people.
  1. June 6, 1944. D-Day. Allied troops (155,000 of them) enter the European theater with gusto with the invasion of Normandy.

What is true in both of these stories is preparation, training and gathering of resources. And that they weren’t fought alone. It took quite a team, and quite a lot of organizing.

It is clear that when a country, or a group, or a person prioritizes time and resources for a specific goal, they can get things done. It takes focus, training, wisdom, and a team.

I have been in many skirmishes and battles in long exhausting wars that have been ill-defined. So have you, I bet. And it’s important to remember that when we start thinking of “enemies” that we don’t get carried away and start fighting the wrong thing. Our battle isn’t “against flesh and blood” in most cases, even though it would be easier if it was. And that’s why it is important to define battle plans, set clear goals and probably (as history would suggest) not invade Russia in the winter, or Afghanistan ever.

Fun fact: I was born on June 6.


COMING SOON: A more specific declaration of war, including a description of the enemy, a self-assessment of my readiness for my battle and recent training regiment. A meditation on the wisdom of waging multiple wars on multiple fronts and a sneak peek at the battle plans.

NOTE: This feels so silly. Who am I writing this to? I guess this is thinking out loud. I don’t know that I want somebody to be reading this… I could easily be confused for a crazy person on the street talking about starting a war. I’m laughing and listening to John Coltrane at 4:00 in the morning. It’s an important reminder about needing a team. I am going to announce my war on negativity or boredom or stupid or something in that vein. But, if others do not enlist, or I don’t turn enemies into allies, then I won’t win. I love this quote by Ghandi that I ran across in some recent TED Talk:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, they you win. — Ghandi

I like that part about winning. Now it’s time to outline the battle plans.


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