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From the Left

Oppenheimer is in part a story about the terrifying potential of nuclear weapons, yet we continue to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal. Worse, a U.S. President has threatened use of these weapons within the last 10 years. In fact, U.S. policy allows the President to decide upon the use of nuclear weapons on his own. Isn’t it time for that to end? No single person should be able to make this choice.

For over 70 years, the world has survived the creation of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima and Nagasaki made it clear that these are not weapons of war so much as weapons of terror, causing horrific civilian consequences. We banned the use of toxic gases and have thus far agreed that the use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, but some have toyed with the idea of using “targeted nuclear weapons.” This is a door that must never be opened.

In this fear-based presidential election year, those of us on the left are terrified by Donald Trump’s threats of authoritarian acts. I’m told that voters on the right have fears about President Biden that are not so dissimilar, though that seems unwarranted to me. Both candidates have had concerns about their age and mental capacity raised.

Might this be a moment when Congress could act to create some simple guardrails around the first use of our nuclear weapons? With so much fear on both sides, could they please take this capacity off the table? Many people have expressed concern about growing presidential power. Please, Congress, do this one thing—even if you can’t pass a budget.

Joan Blades is Co-Founder of AllSides for Schools, LivingRoomConversations.orgMomsRising.org and MoveOn.org. She has a Left bias.

This piece was reviewed and edited by Isaiah Anthony, Deputy Blog Editor (Center bias).