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Do you ever think about the Boomers?
Do you ever think about the Boomers? I don’t very often, but I suspect I do more than most — which is barely at all. I wonder why the overwhelming majority of Americans never think about them and their potential. It’s almost as if they don’t exist at all. But of course they do.
Boomers, of course, are the nickname for America’s fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, which are the most powerful weapons of war in the history of human civilization. Here are their names:
USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), Bangor, WA
USS Alabama (SSBN 731), Bangor, WA
USS Alaska (SSBN 732), Kings Bay, GA
USS Nevada (SSBN 733), Bangor, WA
USS Tennessee (SSBN 734), Kings Bay, GA
USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), Bangor, WA
USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), Portsmouth, VA
USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), Bangor, WA
USS Maryland (SSBN 738), Kings Bay, GA
USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), Bangor, WA
USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), Kings Bay, GA
USS Maine (SSBN 741), Bangor, WA
USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), Kings Bay, GA
USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), Bangor, WA
Aboard them are men and women from all 50 US states and territories. They are US Navy sailors, and are in the business of deterrence, which means they will be the first to know if Armageddon is at hand. After that, they will be the first to wonder what happens next.
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Let’s watch Commanding Officer John Gage of the USS Pennsylvania contemplate the end of human civilization and what it would be like aboard the ship that fired the missiles after the fact. Before watching though, are you at all interested in the personality type of the man who is wearing the silver oak leaves on his collar? What makes him tick? What is unique about his character, judgement and intellect that would interest the US Navy in turning over the keys to the most potent weapon that ever existed and the lives of those under his command?
Here is a remarkable scene from the fire control room aboard the ship. Notice the ages of the crew and the diversity. For those unfamiliar with naval rank, the Black man with two silver bars on his collar is in charge. He is a lieutenant. Look at the bridge of the ship and the faces. Right now, at this exact second, there is a crew of Americans in a ballistic missile submarine lurking, hidden, in each of the world’s oceans. They are training, preparing and readying. They are preparing to execute an order they simultaneously pray they will never receive. Let’s watch the captain explain the process by which he would launch nuclear weapons from his ship via ballistic missiles:
The commander in chief is the president of the United States. The crew will follow his orders and they will fire the missiles. The American people choose the person who can give that order. Why don’t we ever talk about that? Why aren’t politicians ever asked about it? It is real.
Let’s watch Martha Raddatz of ABC News talk to some of the women crew aboard the USS Maine. Listen to her describe the deadliest weapon in the world:
When you see the young Lieutenant Jg Erin Chandler handle the nuclear launch key what do you see?
What is it that a citizen owes her and her shipmates? How should we think about the young people who will hand the keys to the captain, who will launch the missiles that will annihilate civilization? Don't we owe them wisdom and circumspection in our voting choice? Don’t we owe ourselves, our children and their descendants someone more stable, secure and trustworthy than Donald Trump?
Here is another question raised by the broad indifference Americans seem to have towards the country in which our descendants will live. When do we stop caring at all about what happens, and when? Is it after our grandkids? We don’t care what happens to their kids and their grandkids? Is it too far forward after that? Never let it be said that selfishness doesn’t kill in America.
Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks she might be vice president in the next Trump administration. She told The Atlanta Constitution-Journal about her ambitions, saying the following about potentially running for the Senate:
I haven’t made up my mind whether I will do that or not. I have a lot of things to think about. Am I going to be a part of President Trump’s Cabinet if he wins? Is it possible that I’ll be VP?
Now watch the captain talk about how the hidden submarine communicates with the commander in chief, receives its orders and prepares to fire. Lest there be any doubt around whether the order to fire would be disobeyed the captain will put your mind to rest. The missiles will be fired:
Donald Trump controls the Republican Party at an institutional level. Fully. He is unambiguously the boss. He is an accused felon facing nearly 100 criminal charges that include being at the center of the greatest criminal conspiracy in American history. He is running on a platform of retribution, revenge, threat and division. His intimations toward violence and chaos will inspire the results he hopes for.
We should all think about Boomers and the awesome responsibility of their crews and officers. We should think about their commander in chief. We live in an age of disgrace and unfitness that is both epic and conquerable. Moving past it requires zero tolerance for the extremism and cult of personality that has broken faith with American values in the name of Donald Trump. They have betrayed an idea for a person, and the surrender of a political party’s elected members to the whims of a despot has been as pathetic as it had been despicable. Whatever cowardice it represents, it will be viewed as unpardonable by history. The harsh judgement ahead will scorn the cowardice that allowed a fascist movement to plant, root and thrive on American soil in the first quarter of the twenty-first century.
America’s politics is covered as a game by much of the American media, which brings the same slimy touch to the endeavor of politics that wife beater and Trump fanboy Dana White brings to the UFC. It’s not a game. It’s life and death. This era must end. It is dangerous beyond any measure.
We should all think about our Boomers. We should think about the young men and women aboard them. They will survive the first wave. It is said that when the missiles launch, the survivors will envy the dead. In the end, there is only one American who is ever given the power and discretion to launch the weapons of extinction. That person is the president of the United States of America. What type of sick society would ever invest that power again in a man like Donald Trump.? What type of broken media would pretend the powers of the office don’t exist? What type of people are we?
In the end, we will know. America gets the chance to vote on its own euthanasia.
More on Mitch McConnell
If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s essay on the moral coward Mitch McConnell, or want to hear more of what I think of this small man, feel free to watch more here: