Member Perspectives: Nuclear Energy = Nuclear Madness

The American Solidarity Party platform takes specific positions on a number of issues, but our members often have a variety of well-formed opinions on other topics that all party members can consider and thoughtfully discuss. The strength of the party will always be our passionate defense of our four principles of respect for life, social justice, environmental stewardship, and a more peaceful world; however, it can also come from how we respectfully disagree about other issues that challenge our communities. This month, we consider the positions of two party members on nuclear energy.

Stuck on Stupid? (Nuclear energy = Nuclear madness)

by “Average Joe” Schriner

Enriched Uranium-235 has a half-life of 700 million years, give or take, oh, a couple million years. If one is exposed to enriched uranium, there’s a tremendously heightened chance they’ll get cancer and, well, die. So…we’ve built nuclear power plants to use this highly dangerous fission reaction to generate energy and nuclear weapons. What’s more, the containment vessels to hold the nuclear waste won’t last as long as the nuclear reaction.This makes me wonder if we are stuck on stupid?
Bonnie Urfer thinks so. We traveled to Luck, Wisconsin to meet with Ms. Urfer, who is the co-director of the non-profit watchdog agency Nukewatch. She said the government and nuclear industry claim that nuclear energy is “clean.” Well, the millions of people downwind from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the ones who developed extreme kidney disease, cancer, birth-defects in their babies…might not use the word “clean” in the same sentence with nuclear energy.

Nor would, maybe, the people living downwind from Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant after the meltdown caused by the tsunami. (Tsunamis happen in the darndest places, like earthquakes, tornadoes, and the occasional terrorist bombing…just sayin’.) Of course, this couldn’t happen in America, except for Three Mile Island and Davis-Besse.

In our campaign travels, we happened to be in Port Clinton, Ohio (home of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant), the day they delivered the new, rather huge, nuclear reactor head. What was wrong with the old one? Strangest thing. A routine check-up at the plant a couple years earlier revealed that corrosion had chewed a hole into the reactor head. Only 3/16th of an inch of steel remained in this spot. No big thing if this kind of corrosion/rust is on my 2004 Equinox. It’s a whole other thing, however, if it’s eating away at a gigantic NUCLEAR REACTOR HEAD! The result if it had eaten all the way through (which wasn’t that much more)? Um, a catastrophic nuclear meltdown and a massive release of radioactivity.

If that had happened and the wind was blowing south from Port Clinton, Ohio, our family, living an hour south in Bluffton, Ohio, would have been right in the middle of the radiation fall-out zone.

And my children, most likely, would have looked like the kid from the Ukraine who comes here yearly. That is, they would have looked “ashen white.” How do I know this? Because on the other side of the state, in Northeastern Ohio, I interviewed a couple who is involved with the Children of Chernobyl Project. Kids living in the radiation fall-out zone of Chernobyl are brought over here for the summers by benevolent families “…so their immune systems can replenish themselves” because of the continual exposure to the radiation in the zone. Have I mentioned the 700-million-year thing? This couple told me the boy they sponsor (his parents have already died of cancer) is always ashen white when he gets off the plane, but by the end of the summer, some of his color returns—only to have to go back.

Now, when you Google “Children of Chernobyl,” some of the following images come up.

I often tell the press, and anyone else who will listen, that I’m running for president as a “concerned parent.” And I’m not just concerned about my children, but everyone’s children.

And frankly, how any parent can get behind an initiative (nuclear energy) that does this to kids so the parents can continue on being as comfortable as possible with their central heating, central air conditioning, running a bunch of unnecessary appliances, etc., is a huge conundrum to me.

What’s even more perplexing (yet nonetheless understandable given our fallen natures) is the highly complex set of rationalizations – read: rational lies – that we use to justify this nuclear madness. The next wave, of course, being that the next generation of nuclear power plants will be much safer.

Maybe so, but it remains that, while safer, the plants are still managing and containing extremely toxic radiation that: HAS A HALF-LIFE OF 4.5 BILLION YEARS! Have I mentioned that before? Oh, and one other thing. It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist from, say, MIT, to know that to make nuclear weapons you need nuclear power plants. Right now, we, worldwide, have enough nuclear weapons to blow the planet up hundreds, if not thousands, of times over, and it’s not just nuclear missiles. For instance, we used depleted uranium ammunition (bunker busting missiles, bullets…) in Iraq.

I attended a talk by Ohio Northern University Professor Ray Person, who was a member of an international coalition to ban depleted uranium munitions. Their beef? These munitions leave what they pierce, radioactive. So kids in Iraq, said the professor, play on the abandoned tanks, play in the abandoned pock-marked buildings… and cancer rates go through the roof. The ultimate irony? While we were looking for “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, we left (and are still leaving) the country majorly radiated.

The ASP holds to Just War Principles, including not putting innocent civilians in harm’s way. These kids in Iraq are innocent civilians. The ASP calls for an end to nuclear weapons. The U.S., alone, has more than 2,700 deployable nuclear weapons. (And while we spend $50 billion on them a year, some 24,000 people starve to death every day in the world, according to UN figures. This would be like a limited nuclear explosion going off, every day!)
“What if we let the weapons inspectors into Montana?” I posed to an ABC News affiliate reporter in Toledo, just before we went into Iraq.

And the ASP calls for being good environmental stewards. The U.S. currently has 98 nuclear reactors, with another 50 or so in the works from Obama-era plans. The common denominator in all this? Nuclear power plants.

So if you boil down the whole ASP platform into What Would Jesus Do? (which, I mean, c’mon, that’s what it basically is), does anyone think for a minute (the Doomsday Clock, incidentally, is at two minutes—to midnight) that Jesus would get behind a technology that could leave children ravaged with severe kidney disease, many forms of cancer, and/or horrendous birth defects? Do we honestly think Jesus would get behind a technology that would open the door for mass annihilation of His planet? And short of mass annihilation, does anyone seriously think Jesus would get behind a technology that, say, in various geographic regions, would leave His natural handiwork irradiated FOR 700 MILLION YEARS?

Note: What about taking all the technological smarts being funneled into new nuclear plant designs and, instead, funneling it into developing much better green technology, much better home insulation strategies per region, much better energy conservation methods in general? And what’s more, what about a populace of parents who were willing to sacrifice some energy consumption, like what was done during World War II (across the board), for the sake of the next generation? When you think about it, World War II was, well, a war. And what we have today is, really, nothing less than A War on the Environment – from many fronts. Including nuclear.

Why I’m Running – Raynard Phillips

For decades, there has been a cry for the creation of a third party that will represent the hopes and dreams of the average American. In the 1990s, there was a brief respite from the two-party duopoly when Ross Perot founded the Reform Party, which was able to both receive federal funding and win a significant race (the governorship of Minnesota), but like the fears of the Y2K bug, that effort eventually fizzled by the end of the century. While many parties which predate the founding of the Reform Party have tried to fill that void, none has been able to achieve the type of success that would truly make them viable contenders for the presidency or Congressional seats.

Personally, I believe the ASP can succeed; not just because I believe in the principles and platform, but because I believe that the ASP is a true-to-life grassroots movement that has support from the common man. To succeed, the ASP must learn from the mistakes of both our predecessors and our contemporaries in order to refine our strategy.

The ASP must strive to become a national community of local movements rather than a national organization that tries to win over locals like many parties are today. To this end, with the support of the ASP and my local team, I have decided to run for city council in my city of Inkster, Michigan. I originally planned to run for mayor, but due to my lack of experience I decided to make the change. This city of Inkster is a city that has been failed by both parties over the decades, and if action is not taken, it may be taken over with its local representatives stripped. Our platform, I believe, empowers people by building their character from within by our Christian principles and by acting together so that we can be sure that our God-given rights are secure. Using the ASP platform, Inkster can be the shining example of the ability of the people to reform and transform their communities, and, by extension, our nation.

The ASP is an answer to the prayer of many who cannot identify with either of the mainstream parties. I know, because I was one of those who saw through the flaws of the mainstream parties. In the year 2012, I was someone looking for a party that could express my Christian worldview for caring about the lives of both the unborn and post-born. Unfortunately, it seemed as though this was an impossible task, as the Democrats were committed to abortion and the malignant secularization of our great country; the Republicans, it seemed, cared little for the poor and marginalized, and only seemed interested in advancing the profits of the rich. While I searched agonizingly online for something different, scouring through the independent parties, my search came to a halt when I saw what at the time was called the Christian Democratic Party – USA; now called the American Solidarity Party. To say this was a relief would be an understatement.

With the discovery of the ASP, I could finally represent the values of my community—and, more importantly, my faith, which I have held dear to my heart since the age of 15. The ASP has empowered me to not compromise on what I believe, but rather to focus what I believe toward real achievable goals. I believe that this is the power of this movement: that it takes the power of faith and ideology, and puts it into real concrete action if one is willing to put in the work.

I grew up a young man in a poor neighborhood knowing how hard it is for many to escape the cycle of poverty. Today I am an IT Tech at a small but growing logistics firm, but I haven’t forgotten the struggle of many Americans to find a way to provide for their families. Therefore, I am running for city council in Inkster under the ASP banner: an uncommon political party dedicated to the common good of the people.

We Can All Run

By Monica Sohler

Me? Run for office? This was my stunned reaction when asked to run for my local town council. In the mid 2000s, I had been attending some local council meetings where a redevelopment project that concerned me was being discussed.

I had a number of reasons NOT to run. I was not a politician. Certainly, the elected officials knew more than I did—didn’t you need to understand law to be in office? But I’d been good at getting the word out about the redevelopment. I had a team of volunteers who put flyers out on doorsteps informing residents of upcoming meetings. I spoke to people in town about the project, and asked what they thought about it, but I had no idea how politics worked.

However, I had a strong position on the issue, one I came to after thought and research, and I had been hoping “someone” would be a voice for those of us opposed to the project—that someone would run as an opposition candidate. When I was asked, I realized I could either be that someone, or do what many others did—just be another person waiting for someone.

So I ran. I ran as someone who knew little about HOW to run. What I knew was how to listen to people, how to speak to people, how to be a voice for their concerns. And isn’t that a major part of what politics should be? I found, in that run, that I knew far more than I had realized. I didn’t win that election, but I lost by a very small number of votes. And even in that loss, I brought attention to the redevelopment plan, which resulted in a lot more involvement by residents in the process. The redevelopment did not go through. So I lost—but we won. And the following election, our little “opposition” team ran another candidate, another person who was not a pro. We’d learned from my run. And this time, by just a few votes—we won.

I learned something—you don’t have to be a “pro” to run. You don’t have to be a pro to win. Fast forward 10 years. Disillusioned by the major parties, unable to compromise my views on pro-life issues (especially, though not limited to, abortion and euthanasia), I discovered the American Solidarity Party. I was looking for someone other than the two major-party candidates to vote for. I knew the Solidarity Party did not have a chance of winning the presidency. But I wanted, for once, the opportunity to vote for other than the lesser of two evils. I wanted to vote my conscience, and because Mike Maturen and Juan Muñoz were willing to put themselves out there to run in a “hopeless” race, I could do that. I read the party platform—I loved the party platform—and I voted.

Did Mike and Juan expect to win? No, but by running, they gave ME a voice, and I am very grateful for that. They also did another vitally important thing. They let many people know that there WAS a choice. They could vote for a party that was pro-life for the whole life– a party that valued the dignity of every human being. And this value led to pro-life positions on abortion, euthanasia, the environment, workers’ rights, etc. Did Mike and Juan know how to run for president? Did they understand all the filing requirements, the work involved for ballot access, and the ins and outs of national politics? Some, they did. Some, they and their team learned. But they also knew that even without the knowledge of professional politicians, they had to step forward.

Our party has grown in leaps and bounds since that “impossible” run. Did we win in 2016? I’d say we did. We are showing disillusioned members of both major parties that there is another way. Those who had given up on their party truly standing for the dignity of every human person, at every stage of development, in every condition, had a home, a choice, a voice. Since then we’ve run a number of candidates for office (in NJ and California), learning more along the way and getting the word out about our party. We have one party member who holds public office. And we have the ability now to run candidates who will not only put word out about the party, but who can win—and bring the life-affirming views of the party into the political sphere.

Do you believe in our platform? Do you really wish there were “someone” who would step up and run for office in your area, who was pro-life for the whole life? Maybe the someone is you. Maybe you don’t know enough about politics. Maybe you don’t stand a chance of winning the election—maybe your chances are as slim as a reality star becoming president. (I mean, that could never happen.) But put that foot forward, be a voice for the voiceless, offer a hand to the powerless, and you never know where it will lead. If you provide the option that Mike and Juan provided for many of us in 2016, no matter the vote count, we win.

Christian Democracy

Christian Democracy is a political movement that first emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, influenced by Catholic social teaching starting with the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII, and by the Neo-Calvinist worldview as heralded by the Dutch Prime Minister, Abraham Kuyper. The strength of this ecumenical collaboration led to Christian Democratic parties coming to power in various countries of Europe, as well as in Latin America, where they emphasized several unique concepts that promoted the common good.

The American Solidarity Party (ASP) identifies itself as a Christian Democratic political party. This is evident in our official logo, which displays the initials CD, an acronym for Christian Democracy. In addition, the official color of the American Solidarity Party is orange, the color used by almost all Christian Democratic parties throughout the world.

In Christian Democratic political theory, the concepts of Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Sphere Sovereignty, and Stewardship are relevant. The teaching of Solidarity emphasizes the interdependence of human beings with one another . It emphasizes our responsibility to care for one another without regard to race, ethnicity, or nationality. Subsidiarity and Sphere Sovereignty are two other related concepts that are emphasized within Christian Democracy. The belief that that family, local communities, and voluntary associations are the first guarantors of human dignity and cultivate mutual care gives rise to the principle of Subsidiarity, which holds that higher order institutions, such as federal government, should support and serve, not supplant or unduly control, these institutions that are closer to the people they serve. Sphere Sovereignty likewise emphasizes the fact that each major area of human activity – family, faith community, workplace, state, etc. – is a distinct sphere with its own responsibilities, competencies and authority, and each sphere of life is separately balanced, both independent and interdependent, with the others. Stewardship, or Creation Care, emphasizes the responsibility of humanity to look after the environment that offers us the resources that we use in everyday life.

In order to prevent the monopolization of power, as well as to encourage ingenuity, while still pursuing the common good and social welfare, Christian democrats have historically advocated a social market economy in contrast to a government-controlled command economy. This social market approach represents a third way between socialism and a laissez faire economy, combining free enterprise with government regulation. To this end, Christian democracy has advocated for labor unions, which help in ensuring that workers have a day of rest, a living wage, and leave for familial responsibility.

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