The Impacts of Nuclear War

By Brenna Sullivan

From attacks on healthcare, threats to the livelihood of migrants, outpouring of past and present allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and now, the Republican tax overhaul, many of us are sighing with relief as 2017 approaches, its final breath. As we close out this difficult year, it can’t help but be asked what problems, along with the ones listed, have neglected to be addressed and will be carried into 2018?

One important issue that carries the weight, and the fate, of the world, is that of the possible nuclear attacks between the U.S. and North Korea. With everything going on nationally, it is easy to overlook the frequency and even the implications of the discussion of nuclear war. However, those two aspects, locality and rhetoric, may be the two most critical factors at play in the current climate surrounding the issue. Our president, the individual who is supposed to stand for the values and for the lives of all Americans, has chosen to fear-monger rather than neutralize worry, to insult foreign leaders rather than seek diplomacy, and has put the lives of all Americans at risk rather than protecting people in need. Trump’s distasteful and casual rhetoric regarding nuclear war has the potential to conceal the immediacy of this problem and cause Americans to overlook the threat.

Contrary to being unaware of the problem of nuclear war, there are many citizens who are incredibly conscious but air on the side of hyper-patriotism, ready to defeat North Korea and assert American dominance once and for all. This is a dangerous role to take as many people with this mindset don’t consider the possibility of consequences or fatalities here in America. To them, violence and bloodshed have always been far away and inconceivable to process completely as it is far more difficult to empathize with large scale tragedy than individual stories.

However, we should not forget that nuclear war has left its mark on many individuals in Hiroshima, Japan. Let us not forget the fatal stories of individuals who were crushed by the rubble of explosion, who’s skin fell completely off due to radiation and burns, or the survivors who live with these memories and/or have experienced long-term health concerns because of radiation after-effects. There are people who are still alive that have lived through the atrocity that is an atomic bomb. These are people whose stories need to be taken into consideration and heard before rash decisions are made. At the end of the day and year, the man who currently wields the utmost American power and has the potential to cause great catastrophe is making that decision through social media platforms within the disaster-proof walls of markedly the safest place in America. Sighs of relief are for the privileged and the safe, now, and as of recently, always as American citizens is the time to be weary.

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