It has been more than 70 years since the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The number of nuclear weapons in existence worldwide are down from a peak of 68,000. Currently there are an estimated 15,000 nuclear weapons in storage, on alert or lost. What is the right thing to do now that the generation that first built and deployed nuclear weapons has passed and left responsibility for these weapons to us? The US is currently planning to modernize our nuclear weapons and delivery systems to the tune of an estimated cost of $700 billion dollars with the stated intent of nuclear deterrence. Perhaps it is a good time to talk about the role of nuclear weapons in our country and the world outside of Washington, D.C. How do we want the next 70 years to unfold and what can we do to achieve that vision?
Background Information:While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Nuclear Weapons (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- Are you concerned about nuclear weapons? If so, why?
- What would you like to see the U.S. and other countries do with their nuclear weapons?
- Do you see a path forward that leads us to a safer world? Might we someday live in a nuclear-free society?
- What are the ethical issues surrounding the use of nuclear weapons?
- In 70 years, what is the story you hope will be told about how we managed nuclear weapons in the early 21st century?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?