I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Yes, I was young, and not totally aware of the implications at hand; still I recall my parents’ fear and anxiety as they sat transfixed, watching President Kennedy on our grainy black and white television. Images of empty grocery shelves come to my mind; whether I actually saw them first hand, or am remembering from documentaries I’ve seen over the years, I admit I can’t be sure. That of which I am positive is remembering the collective sense of relief as the emergency subsided.
As then-secretary of state, Dean Rusk said, “We’re eyeball to eyeball and I think the other fellow just blinked.”
In most locations, this column shows up on or near the weekend. However, I obviously write it earlier in the week. At the time I’m writing this, the current news cycle has many saying we are as close to the precipice of nuclear war as we have been at any time since those terrifying days in October 1962. We are hoping someone blinks as I don’t think any of us have the desire (nor the need), to be poised at the cliff’s edge once again 55 years later.
Nonetheless, here we stand.
I have a dilemma. My beliefs say that the more we focus on something, the more likely we are to make it real. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly in my own life. Does that infer that my fear of a military exchange is made more probable by my thoughts? Am I contributing to the problem? Obviously, it’s not a choice for which I wish, but with the level of trepidation as high as it is, it’s impossible to banish the notion completely.