OK, I am prejudiced, I admit it. Like you, I am a “Designated NonSurvivor” if the U.S. and North Korea actually fulfill their threats to use nuclear weapons. Designated Survivors are individuals in the presidential line of succession, who are ordered to a secure and undisclosed location when the President and the country’s other top “leaders” are gathered at a single location. This is intended to guarantee continuity of government in the event of an occurrence that kills the President and many officials in the presidential line of succession.
I am not writing this to complain about being a Designated NonSurvivor. I will be in good company — practically everyone in the world. All the artists and builders, farmers and singers, the young and the old. Not a shabby group to belong to.
I much prefer that to hanging with those whom will emerge from the U.S. or North Korea “continuation of government” bunkers. Those people are simply not my kind of folks. A world in which they emerge “on top,” such as the top will be then, is not for me. Good luck to them as they seek to “remake the world in their own image.” Sorry to break it to those folks, the world you emerge into will already have been remade in your image: death and destruction. Congratulations, you win.
Back to the point, let me tell you why I am prejudiced. Today I transplanted five white oak trees. One had grown to about 20 feet, its acorn somehow taking root at the base of a 40-foot-tall, healthy, white pine. I wanted to save both.
I dug out around the roots of the oak — it was 20 feet tall but less than an inch in diameter having been crowded out by the pine. The root was bent and twisted and turned down under the massive root bole of the pine. I could only follow it about 18 inches and it became unreachable.
I had an idea. I would run water into the opening, dig out more, as the ground softened. After about three hours of this, I had made a little progress but not much. As those who criticize people who protest against nuclear war say: “Resistance is futile!” Maybe it was futile.
Then I came up with another great idea. I tied a line to the oak which I attached to tensioning straps like you use for holding a kayak on top of your car. I put the oak under tension in the direction that seemed best to loosen its roots and possibly pull it out. I kept pumping water in, digging out with my hands reaching into the earth and freeing the roots. By dark I was beat. I soaked the root bole down — it now held about three feet of water, and headed for bed. I figured the oak was dead by morning.
I awoke, made coffee, and went out prepared to see the oak showing signs of demise. The oak looked fine. I continued the soaking and digging using my hands and tightening the pressure most of the day. By evening I had to act — I reached in as far as I could and cut the root as deep as possible. Then I transplanted the oak into a prepared hole after treating with root growth hormone. It may not make it, though five days in still looking good.
What does this have to do with my prejudice? I would like to one day show my grandkids that oak, standing tall at the top of a Lake Michigan sand dune, healthy and sending its roots deep to anchor the dune. That oak could live for 200 years, reach 100 feet, provide shade and wind break for generations. Not, however, if the U.S.-North Korea threats turn to action.
Thus, I am prejudiced against nuclear war. I am prejudiced against Designated Survivors and their associates, their “superiors” in office, and their “subordinates” who must carry out those orders if issued. I am prejudiced against all those whose work or support the plans or preparations for nuclear war. Yes, I am a literal tree hugger. I have probably planted several thousand in my life. I believe every one of those trees may be a “Designated Survivor” in an honorable sense, not the dishonorable sense of continuity of government and survival bunkers.
I am prejudiced, because for the reasons above, I simply do not know if I can tell my grandkids the story of the oak without lying. Sure, I can honestly tell them the oaks may survive, but what do I say about the future generations to shade, to behold the glory as the leaves change, the joy of jumping into a leaf pile?
Kary Love is an attorney from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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