No One Ever Wins a Fight
Updated: Jun 19, 2022
"No one ever wins a fight," Howard Thurman's grandmother told him when, as a boy, he returned home bloodied and bruised from a fight he "won." Reflecting years later, Thurman wrote: "There is something seductive about the quickened sense of power that comes when the fight is on. There is a bewitching something men call honor, in behalf of which they often do and become the dishonorable thing. It is very strange. How honor is often sacrificed in defense of honor."
No one ever wins a fight. As the U.S. continues to pour endless trillions of dollars into the military, and supply the world with weapons (even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine), there is no pathway to anything but escalation. "Collateral damage" is more than the civilians killed in bomb attacks, it is the starvation caused by food shortages, the trauma of poverty and displacement, the heartbreak of devastating loss.
We have been conditioned to believe that war is inevitable, or perhaps a "necessary evil." But it is not. There are other choices. Yet, as the saying goes, when you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The United States is the biggest hammer in the world. War is our default setting. Both in our international policy and in our domestic governance. We even declare "war" on social issues (poverty, drugs), and illnesses (cancer, coronavirus). What if instead of war, and vanquishing or destroying "the enemy," our intention was healing. Healing poverty, healing cancer, healing disputes between people and nations. If we invested the same amount of financial and human resources in HEALING as we do in domination, it would be a different world. That is the world I want to live in. The path we are on now can only lead to vast suffering, and ultimately, to annihilation. There is no "winning" here. Grandma was right.