In order to get the people to offer up their young to the Gods of War, democratically-elected leaders find it necessary to make promises about war: it will end the rule of despots, protect innocent lives, enforce treaties, free captives, end looming threats from weapons of mass destruction, insure national sovereignty. Mostly, those things are not true.
Things are not getting worse, Armageddon is not just around the corner and the world is not about to get really, really, horrible. We need new lenses to see the facts of life: things are not perfect, not by a long shot, but they are better than they have ever been. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Tell them to get new lenses.
There are now two prevailing sets of ideas pushing against each other in the Nation of the Idea, two narratives competing for the American soul. Unless we come to understand why each side feels aggrieved by the other, unless we are willing to approach the enemies in our own household with honesty, humility and compassion, the American idea will not endure.
he cosmos was born in a great explosion, and we now seem intent on recreating that Big Bang, only in a smaller edition, and confined to this planet only so that we can demonstrate why our way of life is superior to people who live on the other side of the planet. Blowing it all up seems, in an unaware, wires-in-the-ears sort of way, to be the only solution.
After 71 years, hardly anyone remembers, and in a few more, no one will. In an instant, 70,000 people were incinerated, and a hundred thousand more would die, slowly, agonizingly, in the months that followed, their blood poisoned, their souls blackened, their ashes floating on the hot breath of August. For years afterwards, hardly anyone … Continue reading The Hot Breath of August: 71 Years of Nuclear Amnesia