Fifty nations just outlawed nuclear weapons forever. The international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or TPNW, came into force on Jan. 22 after the 50th country, Honduras, ratified it. The people of these countries will never have to worry about cancer-causing weapons tests or pay for the secretive governmental nonsense required to manufacture and store nuclear warheads.

The treaty’s entry into force comes at a critical time. Just three years ago, while living in South Korea, I watched our president joke about the size of his launch button and challenge a volatile dictator to a game of nuclear chicken. Congress held hearings on how a nuclear strike would be carried out. The world was one miscalculation away from nuclear war, it seemed — yet many people have already forgotten. The enormity of the problem makes it seem unsolvable.

But we can solve this problem, and TPNW maps the path to nuclear disarmament. The treaty has already strengthened peace and safety in 50 countries. This is remarkable, given the opposition to the treaty from the U.S. government and weapons manufacturers. It shows that a nuclear-free future is coming. In fact, for the citizens of those 50 countries, it is already here.

I am tired of our government wasting taxpayer money on weapons that are never used and that, if used, would kill us through incineration, radiation poisoning, or starvation. We must tell our government that this is absurd and outdated. Now is the time. Please call or email your U.S. senators and representative and tell them you support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Joel Bransky

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