Archive for July 1st, 2011

by lizard

I didn’t grow up with the specter of nuclear annihilation drummed into me like school children were more than half a century ago. My explosions were of the casually televised variety, not threatening WWIII, but smart, sometimes clustered, always championed as precise, clean, strategic.

The specter has receded. Nuclear proliferation doesn’t take up a lot of our national attention these days. So much so that terms like tactical nukes slowly creep back into our lexicon, unchallenged.

But nuclear is back in a big way, though less dramatic to the visual palette. The explosions at Fukushima weren’t mushroom clouds, but as the scope of the now admitted three meltdowns (maybe melt-throughs) continues to come into focus, new threats arise, from floods and wildfire.

The hyperbole I was called out on in my last post stems from what I (and the editor of an anthology titled Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age) see as a decreasing awareness of mutually assured destruction. This from the preface, by editor John Bradley:

This is how the book began. I was sitting in a cavernous office in an old building on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. It was a warm spring day in 1984. There was a sophomore or junior talking with another English instructor about a poem he was having the class write about. I couldn’t help but overhear, as my desk was a few feet from her chair. It was a simple, honest question. One that startled me, and still does. In response to an image in Robert Lowell’s poem “For the Union Dead,” the image of a safe that survives the blast, she asked her question: “What is Hiroshima?”

Her question made me realize that there are Americans who have no idea what happened on August 6, 1945. How the world was changed. How we are still dealing with the consequences, and the “ghosts.” Her question made me realize I have an obligation as a teacher, a poet, and a human being living in the twentieth century to try and answer her question, to see that future generations will know, and that they in turn will teach their children. How else, I wonder, can we have peace, can we have a future, if we do not remember?

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Do You Hear That?


Thats the sound of the Montana GOP asserting our state’s right to have a medical marijuana industry that is free from intrusions of the Federal Government.  Doesn’t the GOP platform state:

We demand federal withdrawal from those areas of responsibility reserved by the U.S. Constitution to the states and people.  We urge our state elected officials to undertake appropriate action, including legal action, to confine federal power within its constitutional limits.”

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