Love and war, continued

Posted: Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I, like many of you, have been carrying on with my life in complete denial of the fact that our country is at war. Courtney Nelson points out that it is time to have a discussion about just exactly what allows us to maintain this mental façade. Here are a few ideas.

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First, many of us feel powerless to do anything except feel angry about the situation (that is my own rationale for the head-in-the-sand tactic).

Second, the impact of war on our economy is only just beginning to be felt. When it really hits the pocketbook, there will be immediate negative feedback that affects us all on a daily basis and reminds us of the other costs of war. This is coming. Those of us that have loved ones fighting are already painfully aware of the other costs.

Third, we do not want to admit to ourselves that our lifestyle, which relies on oil, is the root cause of this conflict. That is my poor gas mileage and the heating of your 2,500-square-foot home; it is my yearly trips to New Zealand and yours to Mexico.

The decline of oil means that the lifestyle that we have become so attached to, and expect as a right, is inherently unsustainable - and that is something we would rather not think about. But the way we live our lives is going to change; there is only the question of when. That is ultimately why we need to have this discussion as a society right now.

Do we want to have some control over how and when our lifestyle changes? Or do we want to hit that brick wall without any contingency plans and fight China for the remaining oil?

The path that we choose will either be toward or against sustained conflict. Change in society begins with change in individuals. Right now we have a chance to look ahead, imagine the future under different scenarios and act accordingly. Or we can keep on looking at the ground and hope Armageddon comes first so that we don't have to deal with it.

Julie K. Nielsen


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