War=Because the world hates a bully

Letter by Claire McElvaney
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

You asked me to write about why the world is at war and what it means. Couldn’t you give me an easier question, like what type of fish I like best? (Answer: ALL of them!)

Okay, so I can give you a lot of different reasons, but there’s one that overshadows the others:

Our world hates a bully.

Bully is a weird word, am I right? Bully sounds like it should be a fluffy miniature cow that bounces around in a grassy field and butts head with the lambs or something cute like that, but instead, it’s a word that means a jerky person who claws at others for no good reason. We’re at war because right now there’s a world leader who’s acting like a bully.

When bullies are kids we wonder if it’s how they’re raised, like problems at home, or we wonder if it’s because they hurt and don’t know how to feel better without making somebody else feel bad. But an adult who’s a bully is different. VERY different. Especially this particular bully, because he has a whole army and an entire treasury of money and gold to do whatever he wants.

When a kid-bully hits you, then you or an adult can usually find a way to stop it. That’s because it’s one kid. A single kid can be moved or face some kind of corrective action because adults are still (in theory) in charge. When a world leader strikes out and hits everybody around him, he’s a lot harder to stop. He has a security team to keep him safe while he punches people. Putting him in time out or giving him extra chores like raking the yard or scrubbing graffiti off of walls isn’t going to work, because being in the government protects him from a lot of the punishments we would use with a kid.

We can’t send him out to clean up the rubble from a blown-up building or get him to wash the stains on the streets. I wish we could. Seriously. He’s so far removed from the mess that he’s making that he doesn’t see how much damage he’s done. That means that it’s harder for his brain to think about the people in the other country as human beings; right now he just sees a bunch of marks on a map. No faces are on those maps, so it really just a weird sort of game for him.

He’s what I would call a bully-coward. I know your teacher probably doesn’t want me to use the term coward, but what else do you call someone who picks on others and then stands behind an army so that you can’t hit him back? I mean, I get that sometimes we should walk away from an argument or a fight, but HE started the fight and then hops from foot-to-foot behind his guards just sticking out his tongue at everyone and saying “can’t catch me!” Talk about a punk! (It occurs to me that your teacher’s probably getting a little mad at me at this point, sigh…Well, if you don’t want to know how I feel, don’t ask!)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t approve of jerky jerkface invading another country, but if he wants to get any smidgen of respect then HE should be on the frontlines. How about he goes and does the fighting and lets the soldiers who are just following orders stay home? How many people in his own country really even understand why they’re fighting?

That’s why other countries are joining the fight. Because this guy is a bully. He’s standing behind his military and throwing bombs at people just because he can. No one knows for sure why, although as a cat I would guess that he’s got a medical condition of some type or something. He’s like one of those people that knows they’re dying so they start breaking rules, because if they’re dying, who cares? They won’t have to face punishment because their time is almost up. And he probably won’t face punishment because his time is almost up.

WOW—this letter got serious quickly, am I right??? I guess your teacher wants me to say that “it’ll be okay” and “don’t worry” or some other mumble-wumpus garbage like that. Um, not happening!

You kids deserve to have me keep it real. And the REAL, in this case, is that a crazy man grabbed his army, gave them guns, and told them to go destroy a beautiful place. He’s beating up a country that should have been left in peace, and he is using his big powers to hurt a smaller nation. THAT’S why the world HAS to stand up against him. Because he’s a bully. And the sad thing is that this bully has an entire country with him, and they are going to suffer because of his madness. If his own people won’t stop him, the rest of the world will.

The rest of us in this world—you included—we are going to remember that bullies are sometimes in school, sometimes in work, and sometimes in government. It doesn’t matter where they are, they’re still bullies. If a bully picks on you and you need to defend yourself you can, and I won’t be mad at you. Being safe is your right. If you can get your teacher or another adult to help you, even better. Because we need to stop bullies when they’re young enough to still learn that it’s not okay.

Did you catch that part? IT. IS. NOT. OKAY.

If we don’t get bullies while they’re young, they turn into this guy, a world leader who is a bully and a coward. So, my little tuna-treaters, that is why the world is at war. In the 1930s and 1940s, we saw what happened when we ignored a bully for a little while. We can’t let wait this time. We need to stop him before he hurts anyone else.

Oh—and before you say that I am a bully for chasing the dog off the couch, I’m not. The sun was on that cushion which automatically makes it MY spot. She can sit on the couch later when I don’t want to sit there anymore.

This was a long letter, so I expect extra minnow or something when you get home! My paws are tired!

LuLu the Calico Cat