For many generations a favorite male excuse has been, “A man has to do what a man has to do.” No, it isn’t anything to do with infidelity or being a male chauvinist pig. It has to do with my being arrested the past Saturday along with 23 others who, during a peaceful demonstration, deliberately “crossed the line” outside Kansas City’s new “National Nuclear Security Administration” facility. That’s the huge factory that manufactures some 85 percent of the triggering mechanisms and other non-nuclear components for The Empire’s nuclear weapons.
Of course, being a man, I’m tempted to find some degree of female responsibility. Yup, I’ve got it. Several distaff demonstrators, like Lu Montenay of Independence, led the way. Even Adam did his best to validate that excuse.
For years I’ve tried to convince myself that I was a peace activist, but I must admit that, in my case, there is a certain weakness with the word “activist.”
Shortly after the end of World War II our family lived 15 years in Europe. At first, every time I visited Germany and met people my age or older, I pondered the unspoken question, “What were you doing to discourage the rise of Nazism and all the horrible results caused by that horrid regime?
I have long since come to the inescapable conclusion that all people are basically alike. We may differ in nationality, wealth, education, skin color and a host of other minor items. But we all share the same fundamental desire to live in peace, enjoy the blessings of good health, have a loving family, etc. That was true of the vast majority of the German people between 1933 and 1945, and is certainly true of Americans today. How then can I ignore the inescapable fact that my country has thousands of nuclear bombs, many on hair-trigger alert, ready to annihilate civilization and life as we know it around the globe in a fit of national rage, pure ignorance or an unintended accident? Many of our military leaders now say nuclear weapons add nothing to our national security.
Just this past June 24, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the U.S. to take the lead in global elimination of nuclear weapons and a redirection of military spending to domestic needs.
Ann Suellentrop, a mother-baby nurse with Physicians for Social Responsibility-KC, once again on Saturday “crossed the line.” She observed that “Billions upon billions of our tax dollars are slated to be wasted on these outdated, unbelievably catastrophic weapons that we fervently hope are never, ever used. What insanity! We have human rights, and the right to live is Number One! Just think what pressing human needs we could use these funds for: housing, education, health care, infrastructure and useful, sustainable jobs!”
Page 2 of 2 - I don’t know how my fellow males feel about my crossing the line, but I found myself convinced that, under the circumstances; it was the manly and right thing to do.
James A. Everett lives in Independence.