Topical issues won’t always have finite solutions

By Bethany Reinhart

If you have ever spent time with a toddler, you are probably familiar with the question “Why?” Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I eat 10 more cookies? Why do I have to eat vegetables? Why is the lady on daddy’s calendar not wearing any clothes? And so it goes. Kids seem to go through a strangely inquisitive phase when they need to constantly ask “Why?”

As these curious children grow into adults, their basic “why” questions change and develop into more complex questions that don’t always have easy answers. As adults, we often pose tough questions, hoping to receive simplistic answers. But when we grow up, life just isn’t that easy. Sometimes answers aren’t black and white, but rather, they are many shades of gray.

It may seem obvious that issues are complex and answers aren’t always simple, but most of us are still quick to jump to simplistic conclusions, or form undereducated opinions from time to time. We have become a society that wants everything fast and simple—including our answers to “Why?”

As someone who enjoys debating and writing my opinion, I look at issues, form opinions and often explain my view of why things are the way they are. But life isn’t that simple. My two cents account for just one light shade of gray on a pallet

of many.

One example of an issue that doesn’t have a clear cut, black and white answer or solution is the war in Iraq. It is a topic on the minds of almost every American and certainly every politician. However, our own government, time and again, has illustrated that this is an issue so complex that a simplistic answer or quick solution cannot be reached. But how many times have we heard people say, “We shouldn’t have gone to war” without taking the time to actually consider all of the angles?

Despite any personal feelings people may have regarding the decision to go to war or how it has since been handled, we must all bear in mind the complexities of

the situation.

We may have gone to war under false pretenses—a conclusion that has infuriated countless Americans. By now, we all know that no weapons of mass destruction were ever found. But by invading Iraq, we did take Saddam Hussein—a sociopathic mass-murderer—out of power. Our military operations ended his reign of terror, acts of torture and genocide, and countless rape chambers that tortured, defiled and destroyed the lives of thousands of Iraqi women. For many Americans, the decision to remove Hussein from power seemed more like a question of why wouldn’t we, rather than why should we.

But recently, a U.S. Army sergeant who spent a year serving his country in Iraq, making him more than qualified to speak about the conditions there, shared with me yet another perspective—one that injects an additional shade of gray into an issue that will never be black and white. The sergeant explained that after removing Hussein from power, two opposing groups, the Sunnis and the Shiites, were suddenly vying for control in order to avoid additional years of suppression by the other. He said this unquenchable thirst for power has led to atrocities that parallel those that occurred under Hussein’s dictatorship.

So in the end, why are we fighting this war? Was our idealistic decision to remove Hussein from power the correct one? There is simply not a black and white answer.

Another issue that, despite what people may think, doesn’t come with an easy answer is domestic abuse. So often we hear people say, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” Walking away from violent relationships is often much more complicated than simply waking up, packing a bag and starting anew. Abusive relationships degrade a person’s mental state and can often leave them feeling trapped. When children are involved, it becomes an even more tangled web of complex decisions—sometimes none of which have a perfect solution.

The war in Iraq and domestic abuse are just two examples, among thousands, of issues that provoke quick judgment but don’t have simple answers.

We live in a complicated world filled with issues that don’t necessarily have solutions. By human nature, we seek uncomplicated black and white answers, quick fixes and simple solutions.

However, the world we live in and the issues we face are not black and white but rather many shades of gray. Life doesn’t come with an easy button. As we look at issues and form opinions, it is important to keep in mind that things are not always as easy as they might seem. There is not always a good or even simple answer to “Why?” Having a well educated opinion is important, but at the end of

the day, a thousand opinions will not always equal the right answer to a looming