Last night I gripped my iPad so hard my knuckles turned white. I slowly scrolled through the Apple News app. The headlines were filled with President Trump’s overly simplistic phrases and platitudes such as, “the situation is more complicated than I thought” and “North Korea will be taken care of,” which came moments after the US dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in our arsenal on Afghanistan.
I have all of the words and feelings to express my concern, yet I simultaneously feel mute and numbed to the violence. Will there be retaliation of some sort?
What’s happening in our world?
Within the last week, the Trump Administration launched a barrage of missile strikes against Syrian government targets in retaliation for the chemical attack on Syrian civilians that killed at least 80 and injured many more. Just days after, a U.S. drone struck and killed at least 18 members of a friendly, allied Syrian force this week called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) by mistake. This has been qualified as the largest blunder against friendly allies made during the war on the "Islamic State."
The civilians. The children. The freedom fighters. The casualties of war.
On Thursday, the US Air Force dropped the ‘mother of all bombs” on an ISIS target in Afghanistan, which costs taxpayers $16 million dollars (yet, the United States cannot afford public programing including but not limited to the arts, education, environmental preservation, children aid programs, Meals on Wheels for the elderly or CLEAN WATER IN FLINT, MI).
According to US officials the bomb killed 36 ISIS fighters without a single civilian casualty. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questioned the civilian casualty numbers while also calling on President Trump to consult Congress before taking further military action. At this point, President Trump has turned over military decision making to the military branch itself, and then authorizes their choices.
This is a condensed, simplistic overview of what’s going on in just one corner of the world. It’s difficult to reconcile what’s occurring on the international stage when you’re sitting in a privileged, cozy corner of the world thousands of miles away from distant lands riddled with the foreign concept of war.
The question that is never satisfyingly answered crawls into my mental space: What can I do?
Right now, I can write and I can question and I can help make a plan to make a slice of the world better.
I then ask myself the following:
- Who benefits from the various facets of war?
- Does bombing help more than it hurts or hurt more than it helps in the long run?
- What would need to be true for there to be peace between the “Islamic State” and the Western world. Is it naive to think that’s possible at this point? Probably.
- What are solutions and what can my role be within solutions?
I don’t have many answers yet, but I do have one answer, and it doesn’t include instant gratification.
It’s Midterms 2018. We have to be out there. We have to organize. We have to push for peaceful resolution and mediation within our communities. We can do this by bringing the good fight back to basics and giving regular people like you and I a voice. Grassroots level communities can collectively fuel any given candidate. Long story short, the organizing around candidates for placement in higher governmental leadership positions continues to push the voice of the "little" people because the leadership ideally would be a "little" person once victory is secured. It seems simplistic, but the work is hard. With your voice, you can be a small piece to the puzzle of resolution and solution.
To help whomever needs it, and also for myself, I will create a 2018 Midterms Guide, so that we can start preparing before the 2018 calendar even hits.
I’m still gripping the iPad. My knuckles still hurt.