Talking about . . . nuclear weapons and our responsibility
It has been more than 70 years since the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The number of nuclear weapons in existence worldwide are down from a peak of 68,000. Currently there are an estimated 15,000 nuclear weapons in storage, on alert or lost. What is the right thing to do now that the generation that first built and deployed nuclear weapons has passed and left responsibility for these weapons to us? The US is currently planning to modernize our nuclear weapons and delivery systems to the tune of an estimated cost of $700 billion dollars with the stated intent of nuclear deterrence. Perhaps it is a good time to talk about the role of nuclear weapons in our country and the world outside of Washington, D.C. How do we want the next 70 years to unfold and what can we do to achieve that vision?
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Background reading (optional)
While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
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Now that you are all together, here we go!
This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.
Before you begin your conversation, please go over the Conversation Ground Rules with your participants.
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One. Why are we here?
What interested you or drew you to this topic?
Two. Your core values
- what sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
- what would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
- what are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
Three. Your thoughts and concerns.
Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions and goals.
- can you imagine a situation where it would be ethical to use a nuclear weapon on or near a civilian population?
- do you see a path forward that leads us to a safer world?
- where is the issue of nuclear weapons on your top 10 list of issues?
- in one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation;
- what new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Five. Accomplishment and moving forward
- name one important thing that was accomplished here;
- is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
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