Tag: nuclear weapons activism

The One Dollar Nuclear Weapons Question

Imagine that you’re at a dinner party and someone asks you what your interests are. You reply that you’re a nuclear weapons activist. You briefly describe your project, and then ask them if they’re concerned about nuclear weapons.

If your conversation partner says no, you politely change the subject to their interests.

The One Dollar Question

If the person you’re chatting with says they are concerned, you then ask if they would be willing to donate $1 a year to a marketing fund which will help the public understand how they can help make nuclear disarmament a reality.

One of three things happens next.

1) If the person you’re talking with says they’ve already signed up for a yearly donation to the fund, you shake hands, embrace, and enjoy a new friend who gets what you’re about.

2) If they say yes, you whip out your phone and show them the sign up page, and close the deal on the spot. And then the handshake and embrace.

3) If they say no thanks, you cheerfully reply, “Ok, no problem” and change the subject.

This last person is the most interesting. They said that they are concerned about nuclear weapons, but are not ready to act on that concern, even in the most modest manner possible. This describes most people on the planet.

The last thing we want to do here is start a debate.

If the other person starts a debate, we hear them out, give them respect, and then let it drop. The primary thing that happens in any debate is that each debater winds up clinging more passionately to whatever position they started with. Once anyone has publicly stated a position, their ego typically becomes attached to that position, and push back will typically be experienced as an attack upon their self image, each human being’s most prized possession.

Instead of debate, we accept their decision, which they have every right to, and then, wait…

Planting The Seed

After some period of time this person may very well start wondering why they aren’t willing to spend a single dollar to help save the world from nuclear war. By asking them for the dollar you’ve planted a seed in their mind which may spring from the soil of their concern at the right moment.

It took me a couple of years after watching Countdown To Zero to finally make the leap from concern to some modest action. Every nuclear weapons activist probably knew about the horrors of nuclear war for years before they decided to take action.

The main reason any of us delayed taking action on nuclear weapons is that we didn’t know what just one person could do about such an enormous problem.

It should be the job of activists to give everyone concerned person something they can do right now to make a difference. By asking for just a dollar we’re doing everything we can to make the leap from concern to action as easy as possible.

And if someone isn’t ready to act just yet, even in the smallest way, we’ve given them something to think about. Like the patient farmer, we’ve planted the seed.

Ignore Trump And Embrace His Base

The nuclear weapons activist community seems not to grasp one simple political fact.

America is never going to disarm until most people on both sides of the political divide agree that should happen.

Given this reality, as activists we face the challenge of doing everything we can to heal partisan divides and bring the country together. For we liberals, such a process will necessarily involve reaching out to Trump’s base, offering them respect, and acknowledging those cases where they are making a reasonable point. We might start with something like this…

Ignore Trump

Corporate media is going to cover every utterance of the Trump administration because their business model requires them to focus on melodrama to build audience and ad revenues. Trump gets this. Maybe we don’t.

The media is on the job, we don’t need to help them make Trump even more famous, which is exactly what Trump wants us to do.

If we’re talking privately with a swing voter who might be persuaded to abandon Trump, ok, make the case. But blasting out snarky partisan slogans on Twitter to followers who already agree with us accomplishes nothing other than deepening the divide that must be healed if we are ever to disarm.

Trump wants us to talk about him all day long every day. If we oppose Trump, we should do the opposite of what he wants and ignore him.

Embrace Trump’s Base

One day Trump will be gone, but his base will remain. Nuclear weapons activists will need these folks, so let’s show them some respect by being open minded to some of their perspectives. Here’s a few examples to illustrate the point.

Immigration: The population of America has doubled in my lifetime. It’s not unreasonable for citizens to wonder how far we’re going to go in that direction. It’s not unreasonable for them to reject a political class that can’t even ask that question, let alone come up with any kind of coherent answer.

Abortion: Many evangelicals voted for Trump out of deep concerns about abortion. Whatever our point of view might be on this never ending controversy, can we at least agree that it’s not unreasonable to be concerned about the mass killing of unborn children?

Religious Freedom: Some religious people feel under assault by secular culture and so they vote for people whom they feel will represent their views. There’s a name for this procedure. It’s called democracy. Everybody votes in their own interest. Not unreasonable.

Iran: Why are we not talking about a nuclear weapons deal with Iraq? Saddam Hussein is dead. Problem solved.

It’s not unreasonable for some of us to feel that a maximum pressure campaign which bankrupts an Iranian regime which routinely shoots it’s own citizens down in the streets might be a strategy worth giving a try.

The Genius: Some voters feel that Trump is a political genius. This is not such an unreasonable claim given that Trump came from basically nowhere to defeat every political “expert” in every party to take the highest office in land.

A Liberal Reaches Out

Ok, so in full disclosure, I’m Bernie Sanders type liberal who will never vote for Trump in any circumstance.

But being a liberal doesn’t automatically equal me always being being right about everything. Being a liberal doesn’t mean I can never learn anything from anybody unless they already agree with me. Being a liberal doesn’t make me morally superior to those who, out of sincere conviction and authentic patriotism, pull a different lever than I do in the voting booth.

Dear nuclear weapons experts and activists on Twitter….

Please focus on the fact that we need Trump voters if America is ever to disarm. Tweeting something snarky about Trump every day, to followers who already agree with you, does not advance the cause of nuclear disarmament. You mean well, but you haven’t thought it through.

Whether we are liberal or conservative, we need each other. And if we don’t find a way to come together, we’re all going to die together on the same day.

An Easy Way To Become A Nuclear Weapons Activist

In the article What Can One Person Do? it was suggested that the easiest thing an average person can do to help rid the world of nuclear weapons is just to talk about nuclear weapons. That is, introduce the topic in to whatever conversations we are already a part of.

If you’re not sure how to get going, the following links might give you a place to start. Simply post the eye catching question text, and link it to the YouTube video which provides the answer.

You can do this on your website, your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your favorite forum, or where ever you travel on the Internet. If your posting inspires a conversation, so much the better!


What Happens When A City Is Nuked?

What Happens When A City Is Nuked?

Can Nuclear Weapons Be Hilarious?

Can Nuclear Weapons Be Hilarious?

How Close Do You Live To A Nuclear Weapon?

How Close Do You Live To A Nuclear Weapon?

How Would We Stop A Nuclear Missile That’s Been Launched?

How Would We Stop A Nuclear Missile That’s Been Launched?

What’s The Nuclear Football?

What’s The Nuclear Football?