Friday, February 17, 2017

The hundredth monkey arises

With my parents at Holden Village
(my mom was 42 and my dad 44!)
Here I am, age 18 in 1982. It was my family's first trip to what's come to be our beloved Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in a remote mountain community in the Central Cascades Wilderness. I had just graduated from high school and was about to head off to PLU for my freshman year.

The village was full of teaching staff who were focused on the nuclear arms race, which was a pressing concern in 1982. President Reagan would be re-elected in a landslide that fall, and he was all about "peace through strength," the "Star Wars" program, and nuclear proliferation. The USSR was the evil empire. As this New York Times article testifies, children (and adults) were highly worried about nuclear war. Our media was filled with books, movies, and TV shows about the nuclear holocaust.

Image result for book about nuclear war monkeyMy most vivid memory of that week at Holden was deep-seated fear about the future of the world. I had read The Hundredth Monkey, a parable by Ken Keyes Jr., about the devastating effects of nuclear war on the planet. At the young age of 18, I convinced myself that I didn't want to bring children into a world of such uncertainty and danger.

But over the years, things improved. The cold war thawed, and future presidents seemed less prone to threatening nuclear catastrophe. Countries collaborated to create multilateral nonproliferation nuclear treaties. I began to relax a bit more. The nuclear threat did not go away, but it was less of a huge fear for me...even after visiting Hiroshima in the late 1980s. And as you know, I went on to have three children. And I have not been terribly worried about them being drafted into military service and being sent off to war. Until now.

Yesterday in the charade that passed for a press conference, "President" Trump lightly threatened a little nuclear holocaust. At the same time, he's destroying years of gentle diplomacy in highly volatile parts of the world, fanning the flames of terrorism by disenfranchising and badmouthing the Muslim religion, rejecting the "least of these" at our borders, fearmongering, bullying and insulting people left and right, and thumbing his nose to the rest of the world. While he is in Putin's pocket, at the same time Putin is pushing his luck to see how far he can go until Trump explodes. It's terrifying.
Quote from this week's press conference

And for the first time since I was a teen, I'm scared of the nuclear threat once again. It's more powerful than ever, as Trump taunted. A nuclear war could decimate hundreds of cities around the world and put any survivors into a horrific world like the ones I've read about in my dystopian novels. I think I'd rather die than endure that.

And it was mere weeks ago when these people lived in the White House:

Praying that we all survive this dictator wannabe and his trigger-happy threats. 

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