Opinion: Connecting words with action


Ours will likely be recorded as a much-blessed society. Some of us will have been born in a time largely marked by peace within these United States, live full and long lives, then pass on never having endured the suffering of a nation beleaguered by war within its borders. In fact, the last formal Congressional declaration of war occurred in 1942. There have been many other military actions where valiant young Americans made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country but none in the sheer numbers previously seen.

As with many other sources, war leaves deep emotional wounding that is at once painful and deeply rooted. But is there a difference between actual corporeal violence, bodies eviscerated, scarred and burned, rather than that residing in the mind of the victim? Or is it folly to even consider the matter? The so-called Greatest Generation was formed by global war and from that crucible emerged markedly different Americans. Likewise, Europeans, Japanese and others were decidedly distinct in the decades after the war’s end. Societies changed, reflecting the experiences of their leaders.

Intentions don’t make outcomes. Actions do. Was it that a generation of us learned that a war is won and lost by initiative rather than aims that helped bring about the U.S. post-war boom? We knew that getting to an objective took effort, maybe skill and good luck, too, but certainly it required more than desire. Too many political leaders, CEOs, parents and basketball coaches seem to have lost the connection between words and movement. We listen as promises are made and simultaneously disregarded. Blame is assigned and truth is spun and contorted. Adherence to a vow taken is imagined to be conditional and not perpetual. If we agree, or disagree, what are we going to do about it?