It’s the End of the World, and I Feel Terrible

This originally appeared on TruthDig.

I’ve written many hundreds of columns. The one below has caused me the most uncertainty about going public with it.

I’m accustomed to writing about facts, quotes, documented history, while offering assessments. But this piece extrapolates from the current zeitgeist, going into realms of events that must be speculative and—until too late—unprovable.

Diary

So lucky to be here. Tiny island of dreams.

The serenity is unbelievable, except I want to believe it. Bluest waves with silver froth. Sun through the palms is damn near orgasmic. And solitude! If I can’t finish the book here, it’ll be my own fault.

***

Sort of knew I shouldn’t bring the shortwave. That’ll teach me to donate to NPR. Just can’t resist a “thank you gift.” Will crank it tomorrow.

***

Wish I hadn’t turned on the radio. BBC World Service all there is. Downbeat.

Swim, then write. Plenty of sunblock. As for writer’s block, perish the thought.

***

Latest newscast unnerving. Need to concentrate. I blow this deadline, I’m seriously screwed.

OK, no distractions, beautiful isle all to myself. A thousand words a day and I’ll be in clover.

***

Radio getting scary. What’s coming out of Washington and Moscow, not to be believed.

Stop worrying and get to work!

***

Worse. Can’t listen any more. Can’t not.

Wish I could call home.

***

BBC now mostly static. What I could make out this morning left me shaky. “Standoff” … “ultimatum” … “hair trigger” … “nuclear alert” … “drills.” Threats escalating.

Is that idiot trying to prove he’s not Putin’s bro after all?

***

Radio gone silent. Can’t write.

Should have packed some valium.

***

Trump traumatized us. Despicable lunatic president. Groundhog day after day, one alarm after another, real-life nightmare.

So whatever he said had to be wrong. Easy to forget that even a broken clock, once in a great while …

Early on, so much scorn when Trump said would be better to get along with Russia. Now I wish.

***

When I was a kid, most liberals wanted détente with Russia. After Trump got in, a very different approach. (Putin more odious than Brezhnev?) Righteous flamethrowers over nuclear powder keg.

Still nothing on shortwave. Cold sweat in this heat. Staring at waves and worrying.

Just realized: All the talk about climate change and hardly a word about the ultimate climate disaster—nuclear winter—in which case, forget about agriculture. Or human life on earth. All it would take is a nuclear war with Russia. For all I know, about to happen!

When we kept baiting Trump as a Putin tool, maybe we were even crazier than Trump.

***

Somehow a zeitgeist switch got pulled. By early ’17, the “Russiagate” juice was pulsing like Times Square. Hypnotic.

Didn’t think much about where the frenzy might plausibly lead. I certainly made no objection. Who wants to be a bull’s-eye, Kremlin’s useful idiot? Now I feel like an idiot all…

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