Post election: a conversation to have

I woke up today, laying in my bed, thinking to myself that something needs to be done. Didn’t know what, but something. Just a few hours earlier, the voters of the United States, via the electoral college, had made Donald J. Trump our president-elect. So I woke up really quite confused, not sure what to do right then and there as well as unclear about what the potential ramifications were of us electing a man so ill-tempered that his own staff had decided just a couple days ago to take away his Twitter privileges lest he go off on another break-of-dawn tirade on a former beauty queen! Yeah, it’s funny to put it that way, but this is a person who is going to be occupying the most powerful office in the world. Infantile irresponsibility isn’t on my list of characteristics for president.

I knew right away though that this new political era was going to require some thought. One reason why Trump is in office is because we all underestimated both him and the concerns that most of his base has. Whether they’re full of shit or not, these are people who have had a myriad of underlying fears about their lot in life, and Trump gave voice to them, apparently. But I even hesitate to say that much, because this situation is too far out of my experience for me to feel comfortable giving any answers.

Hiroshima, Japan, Aug. 6, 1945

But one thing I think we all need to do, right now, is talk about nuclear weapons. Since the close of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s, Americans haven’t really thought that much about the fact that we’re sitting on a stockpile of weapons that could kill everything on Earth. In a briefing on foreign policy earlier this year, Trump famously asked why we don’t use these weapons if we have them. I would like to give this man the benefit of the doubt and say that he asked that absolutely ridiculous question in order to spur conversation on a lost issue, but he’s never demonstrated to me that he says anything that isn’t self-serving, let alone educational.

So since this isn’t happening from the top down, I’m calling for a bottom-up, national conversation on what it means to have nuclear weapons, what it means to continue having them, what it could possibly mean to use them, and what it means that other countries have them too (Trump has actually called for nuclear proliferation, wanting even more countries to have these vehicles of obscene destruction!).

Like any technology, these bombs are things we can’t un-invent. They’re here, and we’re stuck with them, so that’s our starting point. And I fear that we’ve become too complacent with their existence, up to and including the point where our commander-in-chief may launch a few off in order to deal with ISIS because he thinks it might be fast and efficient. For pete’s sake, we’re already at war! A President Trump could realistically start a hot war with nuclear weapons, something that very literally destroys nations and allows for no second chances.

I’m just a writer, not a policy expert, nor anyone with the proper influence to give direct advice to those who could bring about a nuclear winter, so I’ll pass the ball on to you. The best thing we can do is to educate ourselves on this hidden threat, so below are a few links to get all of us started. We need to demand that this topic be brought to the forefront of our social consciousness, otherwise it could seriously be too late with the mere push of a button.

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