It's December, we're deep into this year's War on Christmas -- you have probably been Happy Holidays-ed repeatedly in the last week -- and it's easy, under fire like that, to forget about the many other ongoing wars and the casualties inflicted in them.
For example, with the election over, it's been weeks since we've heard about the War on Women. Democrats, pointing to Republican efforts to block or kill laws guaranteeing women equal pay to men as well as the GOP's anti-abortion obsession, made the War on Women a central part of their mid-term election pitch.
The GOP, of course, responded that Democrats were the real perpetrators of the War on Women. Whether it's all the onerous regulations on small business that keep women from opening up shop or the government assistance to single mothers that married women can't always get, it's liberals, they say, who are keeping women down.
It worked better for Democrats, it seems; the Pew Research Center's exit polling showed that the GOP lost ground with women between 2010 and this year. No matter. Now that the election's over, so is the war. At least until sometime next spring, when the presidential election cycle gets going for real.
The good news is that the War on Science is set to take its place. This one is all GOP: With complete control over Congress, the Republican majority is set to roll back the clock on scientific progress. Virtually every Republican on the House Committee on Science is a climate change denier and a young-Earth creationist, and that is just the start of the conflict.
This week, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to issue new rules on ozone pollution. The Republican chairs of various committees -- like Sen. James Inhofe and Rep. Fred Upton -- are already on record against the rules as being bad for business, even if they might be good for, you know, not killing people with asthma.
Both national GOP pols like Sen. Rand Paul and local yokels like State Rep. Robin Vos here in Wisconsin have been out there whining about what university and other tax-funded scientists spend money researching, so expect those pipelines -- unlike, say, oil pipelines -- to be disrupted.
Look out for various skirmishes in the War on Science, too, which unfairly get inflated and called wars: the War on Coal, in which Democrats threaten the way of life in Kentucky and West Virginia; the War on Wind, in which Republicans try to stop clean energy; and even the War on Vegetables, which, I swear to Pollan, is a Republican-lead effort to fight back against "meatless Mondays," which are supposed to conserve the excessive energy and water used in meat production.
Finally, let's not forget the War on Drugs, which, while not the grandaddy of them all (that's the War on Poverty, something we've long since stopped trying), which has not let up since it launched 30 years ago. This despite dramatic reductions in crime, attributable as much to reduced lead in gasoline as to anything stemming from the war itself.
But the real danger of that war is the way it has, literally, militarized police everywhere. If anything good has come out of the mess in Ferguson, Missouri this past year -- and very little has -- it's the growing awareness of just how far this has gone.
From the news that the San Diego School District had (they gave it back) a military-grade Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, to the equally stunning news that in Utah you're more likely to be killed by a police officer than in any other kind of crime but murder by a spouse or partner, it's becoming clear that we have, as a people, vastly overreacted to the threat drug crime.
Sure, it looked bad for a while in the 1980s. I mean, we were promised "super-predators" and every 80s movie set in the future -- "Robocop," "Judge Dredd," and "Running Man," which is set in 2017, just two years from now! -- predicted an American society dominated by widespread criminality and the police state that fights it.
The police state part came true, anyway.
I am reminded here that the War on Drugs is often called the War on Some Classes of People Who Use Some Drugs, because as we all know, arrest rates and prison sentences vary widely between black and white, to name one difference.
Again, I think this is something Ferguson has also helped to make clearer (and Cleveland. And Terrebone, La. And ...) In fact, looking at it this way, maybe it isn't the War on Drugs. Maybe it's more like this country's 450-year War on African-Americans.
That's probably the war we really should be thinking about this season. In a few weeks, we get a chance to resolve to do something better in the coming year. Let's resolve, for 2015, no more wars, especially the one that killed Michael Brown.