On this Martin Luther King Day and inauguration eve of President Obama there is a hope across this land and around the world. A renewed hope for our future and the possibilities it holds. We are a country at war and face many challenges but none as dangerous as the threat of nuclear war. In our nuclear armed world, we fail to recognize that all war has the potential to evolve into a nuclear conflict. Martin Luther King recognized this when he said:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. . . . The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
It is easy to feel helpless in the face of such a daunting reality. Yet on this day designated a day of service, each of us has the opportunity to join our voices in a service to future generations by calling on our new president to keep his word and begin the hard work to eliminate nuclear weapons. In so doing we will ultimately realize a dream of Dr. King, namely elimination of war itself.
President-elect Obama has invited American's to share their vision of America and the world they want to see. At this critical time in our history with so many complex issues and priorities not being addressed this must be our wish for our children and their future.
Eliminating nuclear weapons was once thought to be fantasy. It is now mainstream from the former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Sam Nunn, to former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz and former Secretary of Defense William Perry the so called "gang of four" who have called on the U.S. to take the lead in international efforts to eliminate these weapons. They join the International Mayors for Peace "2020 Vision" campaign, the U.S. Council of Mayors endorsement and the recently launched Global Zero campaign where over 100 international leaders committed to begin the steps necessary to eliminate all nuclear weapons (www.Globalzero.org). The American people have also spoken out about nuclear weapons with a 73% majority favoring their elimination. America must lead by example.
The Earth Charter concludes with a challenge called "The Way Forward" that we might imagine being spoken by Dr. King:
"Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life."
Imagine the possibilities. The time is now to make our voices heard. All who share the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons are encouraged to let President Obama know by endorsing the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World @ www.nuclearweapnsfree.org. This coalition of more than 80 groups has outlined the verifiable and necessary steps to initiate this global effort. As candidate Obama stated July 24, 2008, "This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons." At long last, this may be the time where we realize the statement that "When the people lead, the leaders will follow."