Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why I'll Be in NYC for Peace and Planet April 24-26

Daisy Youngblood, Budhi
(More at McKee Gallery)
For months now, I have been thinking about and working on the Peace and Planet mobilization, taking place April 24-26, 2015, in New York City.

Today I opened the New York Times and saw the image at right.

It made me realize that in this final week of preparation, I need to center down and concentrate on the deep reasons that I will be going to New York in a week.

I decided to do this step-by-step, adding a little bit each day. Perhaps I can do it prayerfully.

(Saturday, April 18)

I'm realizing that, to me, the most important reason to be involved in the Peace and Planet events is that over and over (and over and over and over and over and over . . . ) we let ourselves forget that the greatest threat we face is nuclear annihilation by the thousands of nuclear weapons standing on alert at all times around the globe.

The fire and blast of Hiroshima: why are we still hiding it? (and hiding from it?)

(Sunday, April 19)

We tell ourselves, "that could never really happen."

The truth is: the weapons are on hair-trigger alert precisely SO that it can happen.

Which US leader, exactly, are you counting on to never, ever, ever ever ever, flip that switch?

Are you sure -- 1000% sure -- that Barack Obama will say "no" when push comes to shove?

(Monday, April 20)

What I want to know -- and really don't know, at least not yet -- is whether we have the power to eliminate nuclear weapons.

I'm convinced that the power of the people has been cut off at the knees by the myth of Presidential power (and Presidential competence).

In theory we have a government structure that enables us to assert our authority.

But what good is the theory if we stand idly by and don't exercise power in practice?

(Tuesday, April 21)

For months, many of us have been making a practice of sharing information about the need for nuclear disarmament every Tuesday -- #NoNukesTuesday.

On the one hand, it's been an enormously effective provocation for me and others to keep working and to keep reaching for connections with others who are doing amazing work for nuclear disarmament.

At the same time, I can't help feeling that #NoNukesTuesday is just scratching the surface. There is so much more we could be achieving, so much more reach that is possible.

What would it take for a weekly, global practice of social media activism about nuclear disarmament to take hold?

(Wednesday, April 22)

Last night I watched the film about former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, The Fog of War.

I noticed two things:

(1) The film is mostly concerned with McNamara's behavior with respect to the war in Vietnam. I certainly found myself, as someone who was a child during the '60s, being obsessively pulled back into all of that. The extended discussion after the screening showed that many others felt the same way.

(2) Almost the very first thing McNamara says in the film is, when you think about, the most important: We have to learn from our mistakes, and we get to try to do better next time after we learn our lessons; but the threat posed by nuclear weapons is an exception, because there will be no second chance. The whole rest of the film is about thinking you're smart enough to be right, learning that you were wrong, and what to do about it. But by the time the film was over, everyone seemed to have forgotten the point about the mistake from which there is no recovery.

Today's Earth Day. Maybe a good day to keep our eye on the ball.

(Thursday, April 23)

One of the reasons to be in New York is to gather inspiration and energy to bring the message back to Chicago and do work here.

We had an amazing event on Good Friday in Chicago in conjunction with 8th Day Center for Justice: "People Will Find the Way to Eliminate Nuclear Injury."  We'll be doing more with 8th Day and others in the days and weeks ahead.

Chicago is deeply implicated in the nuclear threat. We have unfinished business to attend to.

(Friday, April 24)

Headed to Midway for my flight to NYC.

Can one person make a difference?


Register to attend the Peace and Planet
nuclear disarmament activities.

Join us every day this week to spread
the word about the need for nuclear
disarmament with @peaceandplanet.

Sign up to be part of the
Thunderclap! going off April 24.

Join the Global Wave for nuclear disarmament on April 26.

Related posts

I don't think Alanna and I ever talked about what it must be like to be trying to escape a shower of sparks and hot ash. But she seemed to know that the sparks and hot ash are too important a part of the picture to be left out.

(See The Children Are Waiting )

The total elimination of nuclear weapons by the U.S. and Russia is by far the most important issue confronting our two countries -- more important than all the other issues combined. This is not to slight the importance of the many areas upon which we disagree; the hard facts of nuclear weapons danger trump everything else.

(See SOTU 2015: What Will Obama Say January 20 About Nuclear Disarmament? )

There are three centers of power that will impact nuclear disarmament: the President, the Congress, and the people. One of them will have to make nuclear disarmament happen.

(See Countdown to U.S. Nuclear Disarmament (With or Without the Politicians) )

In light of the upcoming review of the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) and the fact that organizations throughout the country and worldwide are organizing to press the U.S. to substantially reduce its stores of nuclear weapons, it seems like a good time to use social media to get EVERYONE on board!

(See 5 Ways YOU Can Make a Difference on #NoNukesTuesday )

Do we have a way to immerse ourselves in the experience of what the use of those nuclear weapons would really mean -- prospectively -- so that we can truly cause ourselves to confront our own inaction?

(See Stop engaging in risky behavior )

I never quite understood how much of a Chicago story the Bomb and opposition to it really is. I can think of at least three reasons why people right here in Chicago -- today -- need to make themselves heard about nuclear disarmament . . .

(See Unfinished Business in Chicago (Nuclear disarmament, that is))

 Hundreds gathered in Chicago on Good Friday 2015 to say to the victims of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, "We can hear you are in pain. We can smell your injuries. We don't have the power to restore your health. But we will NOT forget you."

(See "People Will Find the Way to Eliminate Nuclear Injury")

The decision about whether to live with the threat of nuclear annihilation is our decision. And that is why the entire country is mobilizing for mass action for nuclear disarmament in 2015. Are we capable of making sure the messengers -- Obama, Putin, the other agents of government -- hear their instructions from us clearly?

(See NEEDED: Heroes to Bring About Nuclear Disarmament )