For a while now, I’ve realized we have been living under a number of wars, one piled on top of the other. So it’s not shocking that to many people everything seems awful, end-of-the-world kind of awful. Deadly and doomed. Everything seems to be falling apart.
If living under one war causes trauma, what does living under six wars simultaneously do to us?
Our first war began before we were a country. We’re still fighting it.
Our second war began in the 1980’s when we learned about climate change, and advanced into combat when the enemy, fossil fuel producers, bought themselves an army and moved their soldiers into powerful positions in our government.
Our third war began in November 2016 and petered out, minus a peace treaty, in January 2021. Its ugly residue has accumulated in small but loud disorderly pockets around the country, while prosecutions for individual crimes against our constitution pend. See below, re our fifth war.
The fourth war, COVID, made its first incursion in the United States toward the end of 2019, a year before the third war came to a partial conclusion, and has, in one form or another, continued through today and probably will go on even longer.
A virus is a mighty enemy. It’s invisible. Hard to swat down what you can’t see. But human beings are remarkably adaptable, and have created vaccines as powerful weaponry. Even before the vaccines, our scientists provided other ways to protect ourselves. But renegades still fighting our first, second and third wars took up arms against science, against each other, against life.
So our fourth war is, in fact, a war on multiple fronts — against COVID-19, Delta, Omicron and anti-vaxxers.
Then our fifth war, our mighty judicial war to re-establish that we are a nation ruled by laws not by maniacs.
And now we have a sixth war, Russia’s war against Ukraine’s sovereignty. This is shocking, unnerving, enraging and inspiring. As some wise people have noted, Putin is acting like a 19th century tyrant while the rest of us are watching this anachronistic assault in the 21st century. And because we view the war through our 21st century devices, it has become our war, too. Our distance from it is no buffer, not now, probably never again.
Certain American politicians have discarded our ideals to worship Putin, and probably Putin’s money. This, too, makes the Russians’ war on Ukraine our war. It began six years before Putin attacked Ukraine, when Russia attacked our sovereignty by interfering in our presidential election (re-read the Mueller Report) and then, as an occupying mole, reaped the rewards in the White House.
If keeping two opposing ideas in one’s head at the same time is a sign of genius, what is living under six wars simultaneously a sign of? This is not traumatic stress disorder times 6. It’s something else.