On January 23, 2019, the Portland, Maine, City Council voted unanimously to adopt a Back from the Brink resolution, formally introduced by Mayor Ethan Strimling and co-sponsored by City Councilors Pious Ali and Brian Batson. A group of 21 health, faith-based, environment, and peace organizations from across Maine endorsed the resolution and brought it to the attention of the City Council.
Speaking in support of the resolution, Dr. Peter Wilk, a Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Maine Board member, reminded the city council that they had approved a resolution just over 20 years ago, at that time already recognizing that “nuclear weapons pose a continuing threat to civilization and to life itself” and “municipalities have been targets of nuclear weapons throughout the nuclear age”.
Dr. Wilk went on to observe that “In the current climate of international instability, we would be far safer with fewer nuclear weapons and a less aggressive, more defensive nuclear posture. Cities like Portland have a crucial role to play in conveying to our national leaders that citizens throughout the country insist that they adopt policies to pull us back from the nuclear brink and toward a world with greater stability.”
Constance Jordan, MSN, ANP, spoke on behalf of the Maine Nurse Practitioner Association (MNPA), reminding everyone in attendance that “We all share the difficulty in fully imagining the devastation and irrevocable harm that would result from an accidental or intemperate nuclear strike; it is simply too terrible to fully contemplate. Those of us who grew up during the Cold War and before remember the “duck and cover” drills in school to get under our desks as protection from a nuclear weapon detonation. Too many generations of children in this country have lived with the specter of nuclear war.”
“MNPA endorses Back from the Brink because we believe that maintaining the United States nuclear arsenal on hair-trigger alert continues to make an accidental or unauthorized launch of nuclear weapons more likely. As healthcare providers and advocates protecting the health of children and their families, we must do all that we can to prevent a nuclear disaster for which there is no cure.”
Dr. Doug Dransfield, another PSR Maine Board member, appealed to the commonsense Mainers are known for and observed that “Maine farmers would know not to keep five horses in the barn when the work can be done by just two horses. We have way too many nuclear weapons. Plans for more unneeded weapons are simply a waste of precious taxpayer’s dollars. Current U.S. nuclear weapons policy will have Maine taxpayers spending over $250 Million per year, for a total of $7.5 Billion in the next 30 years, to have a nuclear arsenal that far exceeds anything needed to devastate any country on earth.”
Dr. Daniel Oppenheim concluded the public testimony in favor of the Back from the Brink resolution by conveying support for it from the Public Health Committee of the Maine Medical Association.