Current Status: On Fire

Things can always get worse, and it looks like they will

L.D. Burnett
3 min readMar 4, 2022


Photo by Viktor Hesse on Unsplash

Today was the first time in over a week that I have not been glued to television news or live stream camera feeds from Ukraine for the entire day.

I took an unplanned road trip today with my kid. It was a glorified errand, but it meant about four hours of driving on 99. We spent a fair amount of that time chatting. He was interested in what I thought was happening or would happen in Ukraine, my Gen X perspective on whether we are in “a new Cold War” or not, what the Cold War was like, what all I could tell him about Pat Robertson and his beliefs.

The fact that these questions are even occurring to my kid or anybody else’s kid right now is bleak. The answers to these questions are even bleaker.

I think that what Putin is doing in Ukraine is unspeakably evil. I think it will get far worse for the Ukrainians, for Europe, for the United States, for Russians, for everyone. (I sincerely hope it gets as bad as it can get for Putin alone, and the sooner the better.) I think we’ve pretty much skipped over “new Cold War” and gone straight to “World War III” (I agree with Fiona Hill here, and with Vladimir Zelenskyy too — this is World War 3, but some are slow to realize it.) I had a lot to say about what the Cold War was like, and we also had a very interesting discussion about Pat Robertson, the history of premillennial dispensationalist theology, its characteristic beliefs, the twin fetishization and denigration of Jews that runs through that eschatological system, and so forth.

This counted as light conversation for me — a respite from my new normal of constant, by-the-minute updates from Ukraine.

We picked up some hamburgers on the way home and had an early dinner with Mr. B, and then after that I turned on the evening news and fired up the Twitter.

And that’s when I learned that the largest nuclear power plant in the world is being shelled by Russian forces and is currently on fire.



L.D. Burnett

Writer and historian from / in California’s Great Central Valley. Book, “Western Civilization: The History of an American Idea,” under contract w/ UNC Press.