Well, I spent the last week road tripping to West Virginia on business, and I came back to find that the United States is the closest it’s been to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis more than five decades ago.
For the record, it was my first time in West Virginia, and while I try hard not to stereotype, everybody there looked exactly like I expected them to. Lots of flannel shirts and trucker hats. The only disappointment was that people weren’t walking down the streets wearing coal miner uniforms.
But I can safely say that I didn’t meet a single unkind person in my brief time in the state. The more I travel south, the more I can confirm that southern hospitality is indeed a real thing.
Now I can cross West Virginia off my travel bucket list … said no one ever.
And while being surrounded my mountains affords you a certain feeling of detachment that lets you distance yourself from the rest of the world, I did still try to keep up with the news. Turns out a lot happened while I was away.
As we all know, North Korea is a rogue nation that is recklessly building up its nuclear arsenal. Their government is a true dictatorship to the core, with a history of starving and imprisoning its people for even the tamest of offenses. Simple accommodations like electricity and television in homes are scarce, bordering on nonexistent.
And led by such an unstable figure such as 33-year-old Kim Jong-un, the situation obviously requires a great deal of subtlety and diplomacy to avoid setting off a domino effect that ends with nuclear catastrophe.
So naturally, Donald Trump is the perfect man for the job! Subtlety and diplomacy just happen to be his strong points.
North Korean officials have publicly stated that any threats to their nation would be met with a nuclear strike. They may be bluffing. But that’s not something I want to find out, and it’s hard to feel comfortable when we have nearly as unpredictable of a leader making our decisions.
Sound bites like “the era of strategic patience is over” may sound good on TV, but could realistically have devastating effects. Pretending you’re sending a naval armada may look tough, but in reality, it’s the nuclear equivalent of lighting a match in a tinderbox.
I always figured that one day this blog would end because I became too busy or too lazy, and not because of nuclear extinction. So we’ll see.
What else happened last week? Well, Arkansas, still embattled in legal wrangling over their 10-day execution fest, was able to go through with one execution of African-American prisoner and convicted murderer Ledell Lee, after the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to let it happen. A double execution is also planned for Monday night.
Which means that Neil Gorsuch’s first decision as a Supreme Court Justice was to kill a black man.
Sounds about right.
But by far the biggest news that happened over the last several days is the French presidential election. The nation picked its top two candidates on Sunday, choosing centrist Emmanuel Macron and right-wing sensationalist and known Muslim hater Marine La Pen, who will now compete in a runoff next month in what is set to be a major turning point in the history of Europe.
Political experts foresaw this as a watershed election not only for France, but the entire continent and the future of the European Union. And now, the French people have a choice to do what the United Kingdom and United States failed to do – reject populism and xenophobia and join together behind a more unifying force.
This upcoming vote deserves a lot more attention, and I’ll devote a post to it in the near future in lieu of making this one too much of a currents event overload.
Bearing that in mind, I fortunately was unable to even touch on Bill O’Reilly!
Pun absolutely and horribly intended.