I am spending the weekend in San Diego attending the wedding a friend’s wedding. Returning here has provided the opportunity to reflect on how I have grown over the past eight years.
In 2008, I moved from Philadelphia to San Diego, primarily so I could live near the US-Mexico Border during my internal medicine residency at UCSD. I felt proud that America had just elected its first African-American president, excited to be a physician, and scared because of the enormous responsibility I had acquired.
Now, it is 2016. I am a father of a wonderful little boy who turns 2 years old on Election Day. Again, I am feeling hopeful and scared.
Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, just wrote an important Op-Ed in the Huffington Post on President Obama’s Global Health Security Agenda. While as an infectious diseases doctor I agree with the idea of a world safe from bacteria and viruses, the GHSA leaves out the #1 danger to America’s health and security: our own arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The next administration needs to reject the dangerous notion that nuclear weapons enhance our national security and base its policy instead on an understanding that these weapons are, in fact, the greatest threat to our national survival. The US cannot disarm unilaterally, but it can join and provide leadership to the international movement for a treaty to prohibit these weapons.
Which candidate do we want to have his or her finger on the nuclear arsenal, as we develop a nuclear weapons abolition movement? In this roller coaster election season, the stakes are much serious to simply hope for the best.
As a bitterly divided, frightened America approaches election day, I urge you to take some time to try to understand yourself. Consider these three questions:
- Who am I?
- Where do I come from?
- What thoughts/emotions do I have, and why do I have them?