It Only Takes One Match
Of all the tweets that have disturbed me from President Donald Trump, one where he recently talked about having a bigger nuclear button than the leader of North Korea disturbed me on a level in a way I thought impossible since the end of the Cold War. I thought I had buried those fears along with the memories of early childhood.
Local woman recounts the harrowing journey from North Korea to living in Northern Montgomery County
The longest Grace Jo ever went without food was 10 days when she was just a child. Without energy, no longer suffering from hunger pangs and with a high fever, she felt certain death was near. All she had consumed for the past nine days was cold water from a nearby river near her home in North Korea.
Finally, her parents returned from their illegal escape into China to find food for their six children.
Earlier, when Jo was five-and-a-half years old, her grandmother happened upon five newborn mice. She grilled them for Jo and her siblings, helping them survive through another bout of hunger while their parents continually crossed into China to bring back whatever food they could.
“How can I explain hunger?” said the Montgomery College student and Germantown resident. “I lived in a house made of wood. In the winter, the wind blew through the house” through all the holes, she said. “We were really cold and constantly hungry, and sometimes we didn’t have the energy to get the wood” to make a fire for warmth and cooking, she said.
I am a child of the 1950's and 1960's and have also witnessed the challenges of the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and where we are now in the 21st century. I experienced the Cold War first-hand and remember quite vividly practicing shelter drills in P.S. 213 by taking cover under my desk in case we were attacked with an atomic bomb. Even at that age I questioned the effectiveness of that particular strategy.
As a student in J.H.S. 166, I remember the anxiety of the nation during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the leadership provided by our young president in addressing the threat to our nation. I remember quite vividly, while in Brooklyn College, the feeling of panic when the student deferment was pulled during the height of the Vietnam War as well as the relief I felt when my lottery number was 272.
I woke up in one of “those” moods.
What kind of mood do you ask? Well, I guess somewhere between “Come on people now, smile on your brothers, everybody get together try to love one another right now,” written by Chet Powers and famously recorded by the Youngbloods and H.L. Mencken’s feelings about religion: “In America it is used as a club and a cloak by both politicians and moralists, all of them lusting for power and most of them palpable frauds.”