Today, October 7th, is the 57th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the Partial Test Ban Treaty, officially known as the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water.
Considering how dangerously close we had gotten to World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis the previous October, this treaty was a long step towards a permanent solution to the dangers of nuclear war. I am old enough to remember the last few times we really had to worry about nuclear war, like back in 1983. That was the year the TV movie “The Day After” came out, and also happened to be the year we had a couple of close calls of which the American public was blissfully unaware.
My interest in nuclear weapons is, I suppose, understandable (it’s a long story) even if a little bit odd. But I have no illusions about just how terrible they are, and just how horrific a wide nuclear exchange would be.
I am not sure why this feels relevant today, aside from the fact that things in general lately are feeling a bit apocalyptic. The 2020 Presidential election is less than a month away, and to be blunt, I am quite concerned about what will happen on Election Day, what will happen on Inauguration Day, and what will happen in between. It’s impossible for me to guess at this point what it will be like, because I just don’t have a lot of historical examples to fall back on. I am concerned that the President is doing everything he can to undermine confidence in the election and in our normal democratic election processes.
What can we do? Besides the obvious things like vote in November?
I don’t know.
But it should be pretty clear that this President’s judgment is, as they say in the Czech Republic*, for sucks. And does anyone besides me remember when back in 2016 Trump supposedly started asking his advisers why we couldn’t use nukes? I actually wrote a partial blog post that never went up all about it.
Here it is:
I don’t know quite what to make yet of this story that is being reported this week about a conversation between Donald Trump and one of his advisors in which Trump supposedly asked three times why we can’t use nukes.
Dear God in heaven.
I mean, Trump has said lots of pretty stupid things about nuclear weapons, but if true, this would certainly be the dumbest by far.
Where do I begin.
First off, this is not some random redneck idiot who chugs a case of Bud Light and then trash talks about nuking someplace he couldn’t find on a globe before passing out in a puddle of his own vomit. This is a guy who happens to be the chosen Presidential candidate of one of the major political parties of the United States.
I spent years of my life working with various computer programs that involved the simulated and/or modeled use of weapons of mass destruction. Mostly I dealt with nuclear weapons, although there was a good bit of chemical and biological as well. All of it is pretty scary stuff. None of it is stuff that anyone in their right mind should ever think about using. The sheer breathtaking power of nuclear weapons is something that is pretty difficult to explain in everyday conversation because there just isn’t much of a common frame of reference.
At this point, a lot of people are talking about a Second Civil War, some of them as if it is something to look forward to and celebrate. It is all the idiots that want to dress up as if they are in Delta Force or Seal Team Six and then go shoot their fellow Americans that scare me. I don’t think there’s a huge chance that a second Civil War will break out, but I do think that there could be widespread violence after the November election because there are just too many crazies out there that want it. And that literally keeps me up at night on occasion.
I think I am going to have to write more posts about cute puppies and kitties. I need it. Maybe we all need it.
*Obscure Henry Rollins reference. I can’t really explain.