It may an emergency, a challenge or a crisis, but not war. When we use the language of war it frames discussions into black and white. It is very emotional language which often shuts downs debate and being able to hear other perspectives. ‘You are either with us or against us.’
In crises, it is still important, perhaps even more important than ever, to hear multiple and diverse perspectives. In crises, we need a rainbow of perspective, not just black and white. This is not to say decisions should not be made or should be slow. The opposite is needed. Decision making, making choices and judgement calls, is what leadership is all about.
The war analogy is often very narrow and short term in its thinking. It seeks to ‘win’ at all costs. That is often the goal. What is left of communities after the war is ‘won’ is not considered.
And so in our work with the pandemic, it is hard not to use ‘war language’ but we must challenge each other not to. We are in a crisis, but not at war.