The current state of unofficial war between Israel and Hamas offers observers insight into the nature of the relationship between enemies. In Israel and the Palestinian territories everyone knows, pretty much, who their enemies are. They also can predict, with a fair degree of certainty, how their enemies will react to certain situations.
If one side sends rockets into the other side they can expect a return volley. If one side does something really bad, such as kidnapping and killing teenagers, then the other side will be compelled to retaliate. That is the nature of the relationship between enemies.
In one sense, having warring enemies gives both sides the ability to react in ways that allow populations of people to prepare. They can have sirens and bomb shelters in place and they can try to prepare their medical infrastructure for treating the wounds of war.
While no one would consider a state of war a simple and predictable situation, it seems a lot more "manageable," if that is the right word, compared to having a less predictable enemy from within.
The United States may have declared that the Taliban are our enemies but few Americans, other than the military, have to prepare for the life and death struggles that such a declaration requires. We do have enemies from within.
I consider all politicians who make efforts to enact legislation that makes daily life difficult for Americans enemies of the country. Our foundation offers the rhetoric of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but our actions fall far short of these goals much too often.
Americans who struggle with the daily challenge of trying to make ends meet while making a minimum wage may not think they are at war with an enemy, but the level of stress they have to deal with probably approaches the same level of stress experienced by Israelis and Palestinians who have to dodge rocket barrages.
When the enemy is politicians who believe it is more important to protect the earnings of wealthy people then they are waging war against the workers who make it possible for the bosses to maintain and increase their wealth. During the recent federal debate over the minimum wage it became obvious that too many Washington politicians do not have a clue what kind of misery they are perpetuating by not even considering a plan to provide a less stressful life for low wage Americans.
The proposed $10 an hour was a paltry sum and not even close to the $15 or so an hour that would put a worker close to a realistic living wage. Those struggling workers do not generally have the means to fight their enemies in the political arena because they are too busy working two or three jobs just to pay rent, put food on the table and keep warm in the winter.
Recent reports indicate that there are 50 million Americans living below the federal poverty level of $23,550 for a family of four. That means that one out of every six Americans has become a target for right-wing politicians who would rather see these people fade away and die than to be offered a chance at a better life.
That chance would come at the expense of everyone else who would pay more in taxes to make sure that everyone's boat had the ability to rise to a safe minimum level. This country is unique among all others in the world for its commitment to make sure that only the strong survive. That is why 15 percent of our population has no access to health care.
That is why, according to a September 2013 USA Today report, "Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend."
The internal American war continues unabated and the casualties are piling up. Until we declare war against our enemies not much will change and this constant state of war will only get worse.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse and long-time health care advocate. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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