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Opinion: Politicians should stay away from nuclear weapons

Seventy-one years ago, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and another on Nagasaki on Aug. 9.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, the United States has reduced its “operational nuclear warheads from 4,950 in 2010 to 4,700 nuclear warhead in 2015”. (The Guardian, April, 2016) President Obama’s “vision and work for a world without nuclear weapons” (Norwegian Nobel committee, 2009) has not been fulfilled. What legacy are we leaving our children and grandchildren?
Donald Trump has woken up our nation to anger and fear. Donald Trump begins to ask an important question, “What good are all these nuclear warheads?” I have truncated his quote; I have edited out his intention. He wants the chance to use them. What is the United States telling the world through the ownership of 4,700 nuclear warheads? Are we a big tease? A threat? Are we strong? Weak? Foolish? Are we displaying a false sense of security? Are we saying, “We can kill a lot of people in a special way and leave behind radiation to cause problems for generations to come. In addition to killing human beings, the soil and water will not be able to grow nutritious food.”
What problem could possibly be solved by using a nuclear bomb?
I would rather we spend a lot of money on ensuring some human rights, here at home in the United State and in the world, at large. How about making clean water available? Decent housing, education, worthwhile work, nutritious food, health care are also needed to build strong communities.
On Sept. 9, 1980, a group called the Plowshares 8 had their way of waking up the public to the moral issues of making nuclear warheads. Father Daniel Berrigan and his brother Philip and six other concerned people entered the General Electric Plant in King of Prussia, Pa. They then “hammered on two nose cones of nuclear warheads, poured their own blood on warhead documents and order forms, and prayed for disarmament and peace.” (“Waging Nonviolence, People-Powered News and Analysis, The Plowshares Eight: Thirty Years On” by Mary Anne Muller and Anna Brown, Sept. 9, 2010) “And everyman ‘neath  his vine and fig tree, Shall live in peace and unafraid. And into plowshares turn their swords. Nations shall learn war no more.” (Paraphrased by Leah Jaffa and Fran Minkoff from the Bible, the Book of Micah, chapter 4, verse 3.) Perhaps you, too, have sung this round. How do citizens currently express their concern about weapons and war?
In May of this year, there was an event at Middleburg College titled, “Responsibility, Reconciliation, and the Dropping of the Atomic Bombs.”  There at the front of Mead Chapel sat Shigeko Sasamori, a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima, Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson of President Truman who was the president of the United States, at the time, who authorized the dropping of the atomic bombs, and a Middlebury College professor of Japanese Studies. Shigeko Sasamori had to chance to tell her story. Shigeko has a simplistic approach to our problem, “ People made it. People can undo it. We are working hard together to undo nuclear weapons and also not just nuclear weapons … All the countries together must work hard to make a peaceful world. Together. That’s important.” (Addison Independent, “Hiroshima Survivor Bonds with Truman Heir” by Gaen Murphree, May 5, 2016.)
On May 27, 2016, President Obama became the first sitting United States president to visit Hiroshima. I do not understand how this powerful event could happen at the same time, our United States has conflicting plans. “ The atomic revitalization plans to develop five new warhead types. The estimated cost is $1 trillion over three decades … A number of former Obama administration officials, argue that the explosive innards of the revitalized weapons may not be entirely new, but the smaller yields and better targeting can make the arms more tempting to use-even to use first, rather than in retaliation.” (The New York Times, “As U.S. Modernizes Nuclear Weapons, ‘Smaller’ Leaves Some Uneasy” by William Broad and David Sanger, Jan. 11, 2016.)
Perhaps President Obama would be willing to sit and listen to Shigeko Sasamori and have a change of heart and mind, and a change of plans. Imagine  sitting and having tea and listening. In my mind’s eye I also see Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton having such a  visit with this very important ambassador of peace.
“They say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” (John Lennon)
Patricia Heather-Lea
Bristol

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