Reflections on 4 years of strife

Before the clock strikes 12:01 pm and I allow myself a sigh of relief, I want to pause for a moment of reflection. It has been 2,045 days since Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States of America… how naive we all were then. Some may say that it was that day that started all the political strife and discourse in our country, but to most, that was just the day it was given a face.

There is much to reflect upon, from pink hats, “alternative facts,” Muslim bans and border walls to Russian investigations, no taxes released, insane tweets and attacks on the media to paper towel throwing, NFL kneeling, eclipse staring and struggles drinking water to Stormy checks, allegations and accusations, hot mics and creepy admiration of one’s daughter to Russian love affairs, North Korean love letters, love/hate relationships with China and Ukrainian phone calls to impeachment, pandemics, attacks on peaceful protestors and mental acuity tests to super spreader rallies, “stop the steal” lies, incitement of insurrection and impeachment… again.

I am thinking of those no longer with us, those lost to gun violence, to hate and prejudice. To those lost to us for no reason other than the color of their skin, how they worship, who they love, or who they are at their core. I am thinking of the giants who came before us, John McCain, Elijah Cummings, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am thinking of the over 390,000 Americans we have lost this year so needlessly.

When that clock strikes noon, the pain of the past 2,045 days will not dissipate, it will not be forgotten, nor should it. Because while the violence, hate and lies were not so obvious then, there was a darkness lurking that was just waiting for permission to step into the light. That permission was given 2,045 days ago. Today, we revoke that permission and begin our work towards banishing that darkness for good. 11:59 a.m. will be the last moment of an error, 12:01 p.m. is when the hard work begins.

Alesha Coffin,

Nuclear treaty is wake-up call

Jan. 22 is the day when the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons goes into effect. It’s the date of its Entry into Force. This is a very big deal. Hats off to the many local, national and international players who have brought us to this new place!

Starting on this date, everything to do with Nuclear Weapons will be illegal in the 51 countries that have signed and ratified the treaty.

As of late December, 135 countries had indicated their support for the treaty, 86 had signed and 51 had ratified. Other nations will be added as they ratify.

Not surprisingly none of the nine nuclear-armed nations has done any of that. They are the U.S., Russia, UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea. So nuclear weapons are not yet illegal in those nations.

The ban is, however, a wake-up call for them since nuclear weapons companies with offices, projects, subsidiaries, contracts, suppliers, or investors in those other countries will be affected immediately.

With this nuclear ban treaty, it is now also illegal to develop, test, produce, manufacture, transfer, station, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons. Significantly, under this treaty, it’s also illegal to assist, encourage, or induce anyone else to do any of those things. That includes financing those activities, in at least some of the countries that join the treaty.

How can we encourage the US to ratify?

There is the nuisance factor of having to move facilities from ratified countries.

There is the financial factor as more pension funds divest from investment in nuclear weapons production and maintenance.

There is the citizen factor when you and I talk to our pension funds and to Angus King and Susan Collins and Chellie Pingree urging them to make good trouble around this issue.

Rosalie Paul,

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