What Can One Person Do?

Ok, so we read some of Phil’s rants, which told us what we already know, nuclear weapons are a horrific existential threat to everything we hold dear. That part is easy.

The more challenging question is, what are we going to do about it? What am I going to do about it? What can one ordinary person do about nuclear weapons?

As of this writing I’m just beginning my own journey in to this question, and I hope to document what I learn here on this blog. If you’re new to nuclear weapons activism too, perhaps we can travel this road together.

Why Did This Take So Long?

The first step for me has been to try to understand why it’s taken me 67 years to personally engage the nuclear weapons threat. I was born in 1952 just as the cold war arms race was taking off, grew up during the “duck and cover” era of the 50’s and 60’s, went to university, watched Reagan stare down the Soviets on TV, and have known about nuclear weapons my entire life.

So I can’t plead ignorance. Darn…

So what then? Why did it take so long for me to take nuclear weapons seriously enough to join the fight against them? As best I can tell, the answer goes something like this…

A Small Person Meets A Big Problem

It seems that when I asked myself, “What can I do about nuclear weapons?” I was hoping to find something big I could do, something decisive, some action that would make me feel like I was important.

As it turns out, whaddya know, I’m not important. I’m just a small ordinary average person living a small ordinary average life. Elbowing my ego out of the way a bit has helped me see what a small ordinary average person can do about nuclear weapons. And that turns out to be…

Small ordinary average things.

Hey, I know how to do that!

Well, ok, like what? What kind of small ordinary average kinda things can I do?

Calling All Typoholic Blowhards!!!

I can do what I’m already doing. I can talk. I can type. The only change required for me has been to talk and type about something more important than the kinds of silly things I’ve been talking and typing about all over the Net for 25 years.

Politicians Don’t Lead, They Follow

A ray of light realization for me has been to grasp that the politicians aren’t talking about nuclear weapons because most of us small ordinary average people aren’t doing so. The politicians are cautious, risk averse, chicken, they’re waiting for us to go first.

Seriously, I promise you, if the majority of voters insisted that the members of Congress should wear clown costumes while they work, it wouldn’t be long before they began debating what color the costumes should be on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Votes equal power, and we’ve got the votes the powerful want.

Talking Leads To More Talking

If enough of us talk about nuclear weapons, the politicians will too. The thing is though, we have to lead. We small ordinary average folks have to get the ball rolling. We have to talk first.

So, my job as a small ordinary average person is just to talk about nuclear weapons in public in whatever small ordinary average way that I can manage. If I’m talking about something that matters, I’m doing my job, and that’s enough. I don’t have to personally save the world, I just have to talk.

A turning point for me was viewing the excellent documentary film Countdown To Zero. You can read about the film here, and hopefully watch it here.

The makers of that film talked, I heard them, and now I’m talking too. The more people who are talking about nuclear weapons, the more other people will also talk. When enough of we small ordinary average folks are talking about nuclear weapons, even candidates for President will join the talking.

If you’re ready to start talking, try this page which offers an easy way to Begin Your Career As A Nuclear Weapons Activist.

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