Curtain Raiser

Mourning & Fear in America, Colltalers

Unrealistic optimists and believers on a universal ‘fair and balanced’ order have been seriously challenged this past week. For how to respond to the president’s North Korean-style bombastic rhetoric towards North Korea, and to the deadly white supremacist Charlottesville rally?
Will we see the feared Atomic Clock needle move closer to midnight, as Kim Jong un has already answered in kind, threatening over 150 thousand Guamanians? Will the already critical U.S. racial relations take yet another turn to the worst? Should we all give it up already?
The short answer is obviously no, even without asking that receding group, bless their soul. At the same time, Americans are evidently doing a poor job showing the world that we’ve got it together. And that is as much a global threat as the escalation of the two egomaniacs’ diatribes.
One thing we all share with the Pollyanna subscribers, though: we’re afraid, very afraid indeed. Even those keeping their minds above the water – our salute to thee -, know that when their fears begin to coincide with those of doom proselytizers, something may really hit the fan.
It’s not that anything is possible, only that there are way too many realistic possibilities that things may go south, and we’re resisting having to list them here. Plus all the implicit unpredictability, since this is a battle of (evil?) wills between two powerful but deeply unsound leaders.
The president may not see this, but the Pentagon is in state of alert. If something happens, even and specially an ill-advised exchange between the two, we may all be dragged to the inevitable. Worse, some are already counting (hoping?) on that scenario, and preparing accordingly.
If we were to ask world citizens whether they trust either Trump or Kim Jong un to be aware of the implications of a first nuclear strike, the answer would probably be too distraught to be guessed. Let’s just say that it’d likely not to be one to be cheered upon, and leave it at that.
Domestically, many Americans are wondering if we’re following to the letter a recipe to disaster and what the hell can be done to derail it.
For the White House’s first six months have been an uncanny confirmation of every prediction – yes, offered by so-called pessimists – made even before the Oath of Office. With no governing accomplishment but a constant turmoil of inconsistencies, a brewing collusion and treason scandal, and approval ratings down the toilet, the administration, they said, would be likely to invoke a war of distraction just about now.
The Korean peninsula may be teeming with warships and fear, but it’s Guam, where the U.S. has military bases, that was mentioned by name by Kim, to be the first in the crosshairs of its ballistic nukes. The island at the centre of hate is supposed to be busy preparing for an attack.
But then again, how one ‘prepares’ for a nuclear explosion, other than fleeing to the other end of the world? If that’s even an option, that is. Besides, before even hitting Guam’s territorial waters, the retaliation will surely be already annihilating the vessel from which the rocket departed from. That means, war will have its first

casualties, bound to grow exponentially to thousands or even millions in just a few hours.
In fact, the thought of threatening to use nukes in war, which we unwittingly believed it’d been put to rest at least half a century ago, is so outrageous, so out of proportion compared to the actual threat, that only a mad man, or a few of them, would even consider the possibility.
And yet, these men exist, and populate both nations’ upper echelons of power. Trump and Kim are even more deranged than they appear to be just by thinking they can control these men, once they get a taste of Uranium blood in their hands. We, the people, are sure that they can not.
At the same time, it’s important not to be naive about geopolitics. There are an estimated 15 thousand nuke weapons of mass destruction fully accounted for, and only a fraction of that is enough to end civilization. They all belong to the nine nations of the infamous Nuclear Club.
Under the excuse of defending themselves, they all aspired, and achieved, a special place on top of the world, and their arsenal is their way of having the first and the last word in every global affair. In other words, say what you may, but if they speak, everybody else has to shut up.
Since there’s just one way to gain admission to such an obscene group, who can blame a poor country that’s been ignored since it was split up from the Fatherland by foreign powers? That’s being real about it, not justifying its intolerance and cruelty towards its own starving people.
North Korea is one instance where Louis D. Brandeis’ Sunlight Is the Best Disinfectant quote doesn’t spell simplification. If their issues and urgent needs had been properly addressed and were today part of a global dialogue of cooperation, would things be the way they are now?
The closest example is Iran, which the world was forced to address (not the other way around, as some wish us to believe) due to its strategic, and geographical, position. We’re all sleeping better now because much of an authoritarian regime’s reserve of power comes from isolation.
It’s been a while since anyone has expressed hope of resolution, or offered solutions, for the U.S. tragic racial quagmire. And more blood was spilled on top of our collective hemorrhage, when a reportedly white supremacist plowed his car into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer.
That she was white, and an activist for civil rights, are facts that may get lost amid the grief and revulsion about the episode. Or instead, trigger something that the killing of thousands of black teenagers in American streets, these past years, was not able to: widespread empathy.
Yes, hate groups proposing violence to achieve their goals are terrorists and the Trump administration has acted as an enabler, which was evident in the president’s absolutely wrong response to the rally. And no, supporting free speech does not mean allowing marchers to bring and openly display weapons in public rallies, period. And yet, until someone used his own car as a weapon, the rally was about exactly that.
Police, which has been accused of brutality towards black activists, minorities, civil right protesters, even disabled, senior citizens rallying against having their healthcare ravaged, is said to have stood pat, while ultra-right advocates used physical violence against their enemies.
Who remain, it must be said, the majority of Americans. Too bad that some still believe that violence against blacks and browns, the poor and the dispossessed, environmentalists and nonconformists, is not their business, a kind of citizen omission capable of undermining any society.
We mourn the loss of that young woman, and yet another sad week of racial intolerance and hate in this country. And we urge Americans to push back against the rising tide of newly empowered neo-Nazi violence, that may reverse decades of hard-earned civil rights for everybody.
Nukes can’t be used, not even as threat, the same way that fossils belong to history, and religion has no place in schools. America was not founded on race, faith, or power, but on an idea of equality and freedom. It must remain that way. Be well and get those solar eclipse glasses. WC

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