“From the front page of USA TODAY, Wednesday, May 3, 2017 – “World War III: Americans are thinking about the unthinkable.”
So it’s not only me! All this macho missile rattling. It’s not that I think that the US and the People’s Republic of North Korea are really going to throw down plutonium, but, the news these days is knocking loose feelings in me from a long time ago.
How many of these are familiar to you: On The Beach, Dr. Strangelove, Fail Safe, Alas Babylon, duck and cover, CONELRAD, “This is a test. For the next sixty seconds, this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.”
Have you had the experience where now that you are older you think back to things that seemed normal when you were a kid, but now your understanding is very different? It can be anything: the realization that not everyone ate the same things your family did, the “funny” relative that you now know was an alcoholic, the matter-of-factness about an ongoing war in Viet Nam that you might be drafted into.
I realize now that as I grew up a part of me was processing the idea that I might be in the middle of a nuclear war – that everything I knew might go away 30 minutes after someone, somewhere, pushed some button. That the instant death of everyone, or the post-apocalypse aftermath for the “lucky” survivors, was on the list of possibilities. I was just a little too young to understand the Cuban Missile Crisis, but, there was plenty of other fear in the air my entire youth. I look back and realize that part of my mental reference about the future included no future at all.
I wonder how much that shaped the life of all of us that grew up with that? I remember thinking that I might not live to be very old. Did that change my thoughts about the meaning of life, about God, about purposefulness? Can your mind build upon the solid rock, when there is a bomb hanging over your head? It seemed so normal then. Death from above. How did that shape us all? Do we even know?
Trump vs. Kim Jong-un. Unpleasant echoes.
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