Thursday, May 23, 2024

Nuclear weapons have ripple effect

Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.

This week the nation funds our priorities as we pay our annual tax bill. Tax expenditures thus speak to who we are as a people. They define the sacrifices and choices we are willing to make as we look to the future for our nation and citizens young and old alike.

With a continued waning economy, each dollar becomes even more significant. So many issues remain underfunded or nonfunded, and therefore the decisions we make are even more critical. From education, health care and infrastructure to environmental stewardship, we are forced to choose and prioritize our needs. Yet there remains a gorilla in the room that not only threatens our very survival, it deprives every community of precious resources and taking a toll in opportunity costs: the critical programs left wanting when funding is not available. I am speaking of the massive dollars spent on behalf of nuclear weapons programs.

On a daily basis school districts across the land deal with ever-shrinking resources. As a Californian, I am concerned for our state’s public financed education. As an American, I know the cuts in public education across the land will have an everlasting effect on the future of our nation and the world.

Is this really what we want?

Today’s children are tomorrow’s scientists, teachers, professionals and leaders. I ask, is this our priority? What is the ripple effect of such shortsightedness? We all will suffer the consequences. This does not have to be the case.

We now have bipartisan elder statesmen who are working to globally eliminate all nuclear weapons stockpiles. Nuclear weapons programs are not entitlement programs. They have outlived their Cold War purpose and it is now time to work to reduce and ultimately eliminate these dangerous weapons and wasteful expenditures.

The choice is ours. National and international surveys have confirmed that a majority of U.S. and global citizens want to see nuclear weapons eliminated. Their continued existence encourages further spread of nuclear materials and weapons. Now is the time to redefine our priorities.

Dr. Robert Dodge, board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles

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