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Cloudy Skies

By Joseph Mele, Jr.

Recent events take me back to a time when the threat of nuclear war was more prominent in my mind – when the post WWII economy and the population were booming.

Shows like "Father Knows Best" presented an idealized, light hearted version of the American family.


The Vietnam conflict was growing into a full scale war.


The good sisters taught us about venial sins, and threatened us with eternal damnation in a fiery hell for a mortal one. I tried to stick with the venial variety, but just missing Sunday mass was a mortal offense. Hell was hard to avoid.


Like ominous background music, or a dark sky over the horizon, the possibility of nuclear annihilation provided a pervasive tension.  Homeowners who could afford it, and were scared enough, built backyard bomb shelters.


I wrote a poem. I remember only the first two lines:

"I will always remember America under

  skies of mushroom clouds and thunder . . . . "


Time passed, and the dread of the bomb faded, as did the sharp black and white distinction between right and wrong, between good and evil.


I learned to live with uncertainty, with unanswered questions.


But there is evil in the world, and Vladimir  Putin has wrapped himself in murder and lies and greed and callous, cynical savagery, and he has become the face of evil.


How can I help Ukraine in the fight?  I've been thinking millions of people from any free country can pool their money. We can buy a paved strip of land somewhere near the Ukraine border. A "forever free" parcel, where the flag of no country would fly. A parcel long enough for a fighter-jet to take off.


The community of the free can buy a MIG-29, and fuel, and parts, and munitions.  A Ukranian pilot can be invited to fly the aircraft to his country to defend against the Russians.


A crazy idea?


What is it compared to the twisted brambles and strangling vines that infest Putin's skull. Is he possessed by the ghost of Joseph Stalin?


 I'm grateful to live in the USA, where I can publicly express these thoughts without the fear of arrest or imprisonment.


I put the cap on my pen and imagine it's a missile I can launch to destroy Vladimir Putin. Am I descending into madness too?


God help us all.






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