By Spencer Graves
Perhaps the simplest step the US could take to reduce the risk of nuclear war is to adopt a “No First Use” policy, as envisioned in S.1148 / H.R.669. Those Senate and House bills would require congressional approval for any first use of a nuclear weapon unless “the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff first confirm[ed] to the President that there has been a nuclear strike against the United States, its territories, or its allies.”
Another step to decrease the risk of nuclear war would be to reduce or eliminate funding to “modernize” US nuclear weapons and ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and to use that money instead to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine or address other purposes (like combatting global warming), as envisioned by S.982 / H.R.2227.
The PeaceWorks-KC Board is developing “Activist Circles” to help our supporters collaborate in lobbying our elected officials. We’d like our supporters to tell us what they might like to do to improve the prospects for world peace. This could include discussing these issues with your friends, neighbors, community, civic, and religious organizations to try to develop a groundswell of people asking their elected officials to support these bills. In addition to contacting your elected officials in Washington, DC, as indicated above, we are lobbying our elected officials in each municipality where we live. PeaceWorks Kansas City is a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW or ICAN), and they are asking us to support the ICAN Cities Appeal and Mayors for Peace.
What can we do to make it easier for you to discuss these issues with others?
We can help you identify the elected officials who represent you and connect with other potential supporters with the same city council members. I’ve created a Google sheet with instructions on how that might be done: click here for that.
I’ve also made notes with copies of emails I sent to all who represent me at the city and federal levels, including comments on what I did in that regard. It’s also smart to follow up a few days later with phone calls, leaving messages when a human does not answer. In each email, I ask for a meeting. In follow-up phone calls, I also mention the email. If I get a meeting, I ask how the person would feel if I invited others. A Google doc noting to whom I wrote and what I said is available; click here for that. Please plagiarize or ignore what I wrote and say whatever you feel comfortable saying. (I’ve done something similar for Friends of Community Media, asking elected representatives at city, county, state and federal levels about media reform. For that I sent 22 emails. A week later I followed up with phone calls. I talked with seven humans and left voice messages for the others. Click here for a summary of that work. Out of that, a staff member for one of my elected officials asked for a Zoom meeting, which is scheduled for six days from the time I’m writing this. Yesterday I discussed with a civic group what I’ve done. Others volunteered to do things, and I agreed to contact more people. I think we can make things happen.)
Please email me with any questions or suggestions you may have as well as a summary of anything you’ve done and anything else PeaceWorks Kansas City might do to make it easier and more appealing for you to do something on this. We might, for example, provide Zoom credentials for a meeting you arrange on this. If you want me to discuss my research with anyone, I’m happy to support that, consistent with my other work. I’m “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Thanks, Spencer Graves, Secretary, PeaceWorks Kansas City.