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Are We Ready for All That Trump Will Bring?

Lance Simmens: Through his 70 years on this Earth has Trump not at least considered the idea of a catastrophic misuse of such tremendous destructive power and how it would render all prospects of making money obsolete.

To say that these are scary times is an understatement of the highest order. Each day brings a new reason to wonder if in fact we are staring into the abyss of one of the darker periods in the annals of modern history. President-elect Trump’s cavalier rumination on the prospect of reinvigorating a nuclear arms race, done in tweet form, off-air comment and ominously on the heels of a similar pronouncement of Russian President Putin, is frightening.

Nuclear ARms Race

Are We Ready for All That Trump Will Bring?—Lance Simmens

Did Trump miss the classes in school that taught lessons about the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis? He is certainly of an age where even if he did not pay attention in school he would have been subjected to daily rituals where students would practice crawling under their desks in case of a nuclear attack. I am seven years younger than Trump and I remember them so he most certainly must have been introduced to them. Maybe a pronounced lack of intellectual curiosity simply prevented him from noticing? Or maybe he did not notice civil air defense shelters as a child since that would require a visit to regular neighborhoods.

At some point he must have been introduced to the concept of MAD, which is an acronym for "mutually assured destruction" and has governed the nuclear world since the end of World War II. In essence it holds that a nuclear attack and counterattack would be so destructive as to be unacceptable by both sides, hence neither side would possess a rationale for initiating such an attack. That, by the way Mr. Trump, is why we have them and don’t use them.

Through his 70 years on this Earth has Trump not at least considered the idea of a catastrophic misuse of such tremendous destructive power and how it would render all prospects of making money obsolete.

Through his 70 years on this Earth has he not at least considered the idea of a catastrophic misuse of such tremendous destructive power and how it would render all prospects of making money obsolete. Yes Donald all the money in the world will not protect you or your loved ones or what will soon be your constituents, nearly 300 million of them, from either death or a zombie- like existence. So put that in your pipe and smoke it!

I am a glass half-full kind of guy but I am increasingly worried that this time we are dealing with an individual who is incapable of understanding the gravity of the responsibilities he is about to assume. I have seen political miscalculations first hand. As a Baby Boomer I were introduced to Vietnam at the tender age where I was actually in danger of being drafted into the line of fire. Since 9/11 we have seen the horror of misadventure in Iraq and Afghanistan. We today are introduced to the horrific disintegration of Syria. Yet these conventional holocausts pale in comparison to the breadth of destruction wrought by a nuclear exchange and the consequent nuclear ‘winter’ that will follow.

Surely Mr. Trump you have at some point been introduced to the devastation upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Surely you have heard about Chernobyl. Just as surely you know about Fukushima. Yet he continues to carelessly bandy about notions of strength based upon military might and nuclear power? This transcends politics, it is about big league life and death, to borrow a phrase he might actually understand. The razor’s edge he is about to traverse will fray nerves, elevate anxiousness, and reduce the margin of error to a level that is maddeningly slim.

Couple this with an ignorance unparalleled with respect to the potential consequences of climate change and a rapidly smoldering planet that could eventually be uninhabitable for the human species and the fright index soars off the charts. My glass is increasingly looking emptier and emptier.

I so want to be wrong. I have kids and I want them to live in a world of tolerance, opportunity, and basic humanity. I want them to be able to bask in the wonder of all the Earth has to offer. I want them to be able to breathe the air, drink the water, go to the beach or the mountains, basically I want them to marvel at mountaintops and coral reefs and canyons and magnificent rivers. I want them to experience coexistence with exotic plants and animals.

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All of this is clearly put at risk as the world’s most powerful nation, economically and militarily, experiments with a foolish narcissist and his merry band of misfits setting out to prove that upsetting the status quo just for the sake of doing so is a noble cause, regardless of the consequences. For all the anger and frustration spread throughout the land we still live in the most prosperous nation in the world and enjoy a level of comfort that is envied on most continents.

C’mon people, let’s get real. We will have to endure a mistake, at least for a while, but it is incumbent upon us to mitigate the extent to which that mistake may spiral into catastrophe.

I worked as an advisor to a very savvy political leader who was governor of a large Eastern state and mayor of a large city within that state. He is an acknowledged leader within the Democratic Party superstructure and is one of the most conscientious public servants I have known. He was and is a big supporter of Hillary Clinton and in 2008 when I brought to his attention that this fellow Obama was the real deal he turned to me and growled that “he was not ready.” I did not take this seriously at the time and felt it was merely frustration that in fact the fellow was gaining steam on his preferred candidate.

Over the years I slowly warmed to the idea that he might have been correct. But as I now look at the turn the country has taken (not in the popular vote tally mind you but certainly enough to make it close) I wonder if in fact it is “we who are not ready.” Collectively “we” the people did not quite realize the importance of a cool, calm, intellectually curious, and rational leader who devoted great effort to constructing policy in the midst of what most likely will be the most strident obstructionist opposition in our nation’s history.

“We” were not ready as a nation for politically responsible governance. “We” were not ready for sane and rational public policy. If “we” had been we would never have countenanced nor perpetuated a government so divided as to give new definition to the term paralysis. “We” were not ready for the consequences of political atrophy.

Those consequences are reflected in the faux populist revolution that was sold to many of us by this charlatan, this modern-day snake oil salesman, who convinced religious conservatives to ignore his maniacal sexual perversions, conservatives to ignore his anti-trade rhetoric, women to ignore his misogyny, moderates to ignore his xenophobia and racism, workers to ignore his business executive history, and millions of others to ignore his total lack of preparation for and seriousness of purpose to governing.

So the best we can do now is to be ever vigilant and draw upon our strength to resist that which will be done in the name of strength but will only make us weaker. Now is neither the time to run away from nor surrender to the overwhelming frustration and anger that will accompany the rantings of a pathological liar, a revenge-addled hypocrite, a juvenile trapped inside an adult frame. And if we must first sink to the depths of depravity in order to regain our resolve let us work to change a system that rewards inadequacy, ignorance, and intolerance. We must work to conform our governmental and political systems to reflect the values and precepts of liberty and freedom laid out by the Founding Fathers.

The road ahead promises to be a long and difficult one but for the sake of future generations we owe it to ourselves to embark upon change that values humanity not destroys it.


Lance Simmens