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State Senator James Sanders, Jr.
State Senator James Sanders, Jr.

BY STATE SENATOR JAMES SANDERS, JR.

I had such hopes for the New Year 2018. I thought how could President Trump manage to make things worse for our country, but he has. He made the U.S. a joke as he started this year’s international politics and nuclear war discussion with the declaration, My button is “much bigger,” than your button. The statement was directed at the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, someone whom he has also called “rocket man.” Trump was referring to the so-called button used to launch a nuclear attack.

The battle of wits began with Jong-un stating in a New Year’s address to the people of his country “that I have a nuclear button on the desk in my office. All of the mainland United States is within the range of our nuclear strike.”

Of course, Trump was not to be outdone and he tweeted, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Are you shaking your head yet? Wait it gets better. Imagine if you lived in South Korea, the closest and most likely place to be affected during North Korea’s missile tests, or worse, the start of a nuclear war.

Let us not forget North Korea and South Korea are still technically at war since the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice not a peace treaty and the two parts of the country are separated by a heavily guarded border known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). But after six decades of delicate, if any, relations, things may be taking a turn for the positive with reps from the two countries set to meet in Panmunjom, on January 8, a village located inside the DMZ.

But could Trump’s trash talk, throw a wrench in the works and possibly even cloud the upcoming 2018 Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

North Korea has been trying to get a rise out of American presidents for about 70 years, puffing out its chest and boasting of its alleged strength. However, each of those presidents has had enough sense to ignore the raving dictators of the Hermit Kingdom. Now, we have Trump, and there seems to be no end in sight to the war of words, which hopefully does not trigger a nuclear war.

Trump knows, or should know, what we all know, and that is Jong-un’s button claim is just fantasy, even though a member of his regime may have placed a red button on his desk to make him feel more powerful and important. After all, this is the same man who told his people that he learned to drive a car by the age of three, that he can change the weather, and that he climbed the country’s highest mountain wearing a topcoat and dress shoes. His father and predecessor Kim Jong-il boasted of never needing to use a toilet, according to an official biography. Let’s get back to reality.

Neither country’s weapons work by pressing a desk button, and it would be a terrifying scenario if they did, given Trump and Jong-un’s thirst for both power and immediate gratification. Some have compared it to the mentality of a child.

Locally, the antics of Trump and Jong-un – constantly having the country imagining that we are on the verge of nuclear war – could have schools and communities returning to the Civil Defense “Duck and Cover” drills conducted in the 1950s and 1960s. We cannot allow our country, our people, and our children to return to the same fears that plagued us during the Cold War.

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