These Days After The Day After

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On Sunday, November 20, 1983, the world ended.

At least it seemed that way to the 100 million or so Americans gathered around their TV screens to watch “The Day After.”

Our small group of Mennonite diaspora in Mississippi, meeting together as a Bible study, decided to spend our evening watching the nuclear apocalypse and having a discussion afterwards.

I was 16, and I have never seen the world in the same way since, as can be attested by the substantial amount of my writings on the subject of a post-nuclear Holocaust. (Search Cold War Kid in my blog)

Most of the books I read in high school for book reports were about the same. (Except for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and that had its own apocalyptic theme).

The Beach.


Alas, Babylon.

And then there were the movies, which advocated (long before the Gipper) a peaceful end to the Cold War.


Rocky IV (!).

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

Oh, and Wargames.

“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

Yet it seems the leaders of this world can’t help but keep playing thus strange game. There have been hopeful signs, but there are still far too many nuclear weapons around.

The reduction of WMDs is a laudable goal, but the change that needs to occur is more of an internal thing I think. A heart and mind reconstruction. Call it a Hubris Nonproliferation Treaty. A greater sense of what we have in common. Less walls between us, not more.


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the doomsday clock to 3 minutes to midnight to represent how close we are to self-destruction.

Like David and the Giants sang, “It’s almost midnight.”

Yet, I don’t think they were talking about this.

So here I am, over 30 years later, sitting like I did that Sunday long ago, watching the world go by, wondering if the human race will run itself right out of existence.


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