Ideas with Attitude: How do You Stop Wars?

I once asked some kindergarten children that question and out of the mouths of babes came some very interesting solutions. One little one said, “Send up a surrender flag and you stop and they stop.” Another idea was, “Send up a balloon and drop a man dressed up scary and they will stop.” Oh, to return to the simplistic view of humanity such as a five year old maintains. Just think, a preschool child develops empathy but as society exercises more restrictions, empathy sometimes goes underground. Maintaining empathy might change the world and be what might solve our tendency to wage wars.

Another five year old solution is, “All the men could throw their guns away and never use them again.” You have probably read about an earlier war when both sides threw down their weapons at Christmas and celebrated together. Too bad Christmas was finally over and they dutifully picked up their weapons and dived into their respective trenches. Conditioning males to be warriors who kill on command and conditioning females to put childbearing as their principal role in society is not working.

The increasing number of young warriors coming home with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a sign that we either must steel young men to fight to the end without trauma to their own psyches or build a more peaceful society that does not require men to prepare to kill without remorse. Allowing females to join the warring males in the trenches is not the answer. Instead of women learning to accept the role of warrior in the man’s world, perhaps men should learn to accept their softer side, as it were, and learn about peacemaking and nurturing.

We are humans first and foremost. We all have brains and need to use them. I have always contended that the deepest divide is the divide between the sexes. Until we can be humans together without the stereotyped roles that we have been taught to play, things won’t change. Young men will continue to heed the call to war and young women will continue to be on the lookout for a male to support their childbearing role and cheer the males from the sidelines. Unfortunately culture and conditioning stand in the way of accepting a simple solution. We are at a point in civilization in which the cost of wars has engulfed us so completely that only another war will excite us to action and remove our worry over yet more war debt to pay off.

So is what we learned in kindergarten to be ignored? Are we to perennially heed the call of the war drums? Every president knows that a war is protection from censure. While a war is being waged one dare not criticize the leader but instead we must support the commander in chief until the conflict is ended. With our present leader representing a party opposite from the majority in the US House of Representatives, it is my hope that he will not resort to entering yet another war to keep the heat off his own presidency. If we truly want to live in a democracy then it is up to each one of us to see that we find a way to bring our past mistakes into focus so that we don’t repeat them. Complaining about the cost of living or the problems in our schools is simply complaining about ourselves. We the people have the means to control our own society. We need to take personal responsibility in maintaining adequate school systems and needed services for all citizens as a first priority. Avoiding another war might be a good start.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at 206-935-8663 or

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