Last week I tweeted this: “The U.S. military wants to fly small nuclear power plants into wars in order to power the wars’ weaponry. Because there was some chance we might not all die fast enough if nothing this stupid was tried.” I linked to a report on this insane idea. Someone replied: “The Navy already does this.”
True enough. Submarines and aircraft carriers engage in this lunacy, and we take it for granted. Submarines also haul nuclear weapons around the world’s seas, ready to intentionally or accidentally destroy the world as needed.
But some people don’t take anything for granted. Westminster Abbey, next door to Parliament, in London, is hosting a ceremony of thanksgiving to properly thank God for 50 years of nuclear weapons in the water. Oh, well, you might think, that makes sense to give thanks for having survived such behavior this long.
No, no, no. You misunderstand. They’re thanking God for having created the nukes and subjected the world to the risk of apocalypse, not for the incredible luck of having thus far survived it.
Wouldn’t Notre Dame in Paris be a more appropriate site for such a celebration, you might ask. Well, you’d have a point there.
Sane people in London are planning a protest, thank ______, well, thank whatever it is that sane people thank, Vasilli Arkhipov I guess. Thank you, Vasilli. (Look him up if you’re suffering from AUSE [a U.S. education].) And this is England, not the United States, so the sane people may make an impressive showing — something I often envy.
But is sanity really called for here? Is it appropriate? WWYD? (What would Yippies do?) Why not go all in on the thank yous? Couldn’t we thank God for cancer and starvation and Theresa May? What about cholera, Brexit, and Donald Trump? Napalm? White Phosphorus? Drones? Corporate news? Is there really a limit to what we can be properly thankful for?
It’s the small things that count, here, I believe. When you find someone in the street in London stabbing somebody, run up and grab that person by the shirt, look them in the eye, and say, very sincerely: Thank you for your service. It’s that sort of application of what we do on a large scale to the immediate human scale that can truly develop one’s thankfulness, I believe.
Just thinking this way, I’m ready to thank God for the Royal Family (every royal family, but especially the Saudi one, I think — it’s a close call) and for colds, headaches, the flu, Alzheimer’s, and of course Joe Biden. And thank you most of all to Westminster Abbey for inspiring the world to be thankful!