On September 20, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich led a successful bipartisan effort to defeat a bill in Congress that would have established a new national park celebrating the technological achievements of the Manhattan Project. The park would include sites in three states including at two currently active nuclear weapons production facilities, Los Alamos New Mexico and Oak Ridge Tennessee. As Kucinich – a former Mayor of Cleveland Ohio, and United Nations Liaison for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament – declared to his colleagues on the floor of the House: “At a time when we should be organizing the world towards abolishing nuclear weapons before they abolish us, we are instead indulging in admiration at our cleverness as a species. The bomb is about graveyards, it’s not about national parks.”
According to Kucinich: “The technology which created the bomb cannot be separated from the horror the bomb created…. If there was going to be a new park, it should serve as a solemn monument to Japanese American friendship that rose from the ashes and the worldwide work for nuclear disarmament that continues to this day, rather than a celebration of a technology that has brought such destruction to the world. Failure to recognize this dimension, even in its first iteration, really is a significant injustice.”
Unfortunately, the proposed legislation is not dead. Republican Congressman Doc Hastings, who wrote and cosponsored the bill, in a statement after the vote said: “We’ve shown there is support for this park and will be working towards the goal of enacting this into law before the end of this year.” The legislation is supported by the Obama Administration as well as the Energy Communities Alliance, an organization of local governments that are adjacent to or impacted by Department of Energy activities.
According to Kucinich: “The ‘Bomb Park’ is a mistake. We should not spend another $21,000,000 more to ‘spike the nuclear football.’ We are defined by what we celebrate. We should not celebrate nuclear bombs.” Read the full text of Congressman Kucinich’s inspiring testimony to Congress here.
For more information contact Jackie Cabasso, convener of UFPJ’s Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security working group at firstname.lastname@example.org