Our world needs Treaty to Prevent Nuclear Weapons

In 2017, the United Nations created the Treaty to Prevent Nuclear Weapons. More than 150 countries voted to endorse the treaty and now 51 countries have ratified the treaty. On Jan. 22, 2021, this became official policy of the United Nations. It is now illegal to possess nuclear weapons.

Nine nuclear countries have refused to sign on and ratify the treaty. The United States, of course, is one.

For over 70 years this threat has held the world in peril and with new countries pursuing and possessing nuclear weapons, the problem only gets worse. The United States always resorts to the idea that the possession of these weapons is purely defensive and thus used as a deterrent.

Have you ever wondered why the United States has not attacked a country with nukes? You should because it explains why other countries with whom we have disagreements want to possess them. It is not to attack us. Nuclear weapons are purely used as a deterrent by these countries. They do not want to ever use them. Using them on the United States would be suicide. The United States has never agreed to renounce First Strike capability and for that reason the U.S. arsenal is also for offensive purposes and its nuclear capability is overwhelming. Also, we must never allow one person to control the fate of the entire world.

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The reason the United Nations, the 51 ratifying countries, and the 150 nations likely to ratify is because these countries are tired of constantly being under the proverbial "mushroom cloud." They are disgusted with the bickering and mistrust that these nuclear countries refuse to put an end to. The world finds itself in peril for so many reasons where cooperation and trust are so desperately needed.

I urge you to study the Treaty to Prevent Nuclear Weapons and do all you can to get the United States to join the treaty. Call our senators from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and your member of the House of Representatives (mine being Angie Craig) to begin action on this. They have a lot on their plates right now but the world can no longer wait to finally see the elimination of these terrible weapons.

Bill Habedank

Red Wing

Know your education superintendent candidates

I am a member of the League of Women Voters - St. Croix Valley, and I am urging citizens to participate in the upcoming election. The LWV is a non-partisan organization that has successfully promoted voting and active citizen democracy for over 100 years.

The upcoming statewide election is for Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction. Townships and counties may have additional local and judicial elections. The primary will occur on Feb. 16, 2021. The general election will occur on April 6, 2021.

The election of state superintendent of public instruction is nonpartisan and important. Because of the pandemic, students’ education has been drastically disrupted. Issues include health protection of students and staff, funding, disparity in education, and teacher shortage. Our public schools give depth and meaning to students, families, and communities.

I strongly urge the people to learn about the candidates and vote for the one of their choice. You can view the recorded forum of the candidates at: www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=94_HXyCVTS8&feature=emb_logo. Candidates’ views can be found at my.lwvwi.org/voterinformation and Vote411 as well as League of Women Voters St. Croix valley/Facebook.

Online voter access is at Myvote.wi.gov. Here individuals can register, request a ballot, and find their polling place. If absentee voting is your choice, it is recommended to request those ballots for the entire year, and you will receive them automatically.

You can vote early at your polling place, and of course vote on election day. You must always show that you have an acceptable photo ID to vote.

Marcy Armstrong Dorau

Star Prairie

Frontline workers keep at it

Nurses across the country have been heroic in their efforts to combat COVID-19 and save lives. Daily, for the last 10 months, these men and women have put their own lives on the line. Even working as a pediatric nurse in Minneapolis, I have seen my fair share of COVID-19 cases and the side effects. I look forward to the day we no longer have to fear this virus and to the end of this devastating pandemic.

News of COVID-19 vaccines being distributed state- and nationwide gives us promise. And I am thrilled that many of my colleagues on the frontlines are able to receive the vaccine. However, slow allocations and hesitancies among our public still leave many vulnerable.

In addition to the frontline nurses and other workers in healthcare settings, our healthcare distributors have also been hard at work getting us not just the approved vaccine and the supplies needed to allocate, but also the medications and critical pharmaceutical supplies we’ve needed. Our distribution partners have been steadfast in their commitment to keeping our health care settings moving, and I know they will do the same until every person across the nation is vaccinated against COVID-19.

As a nurse, I hope for the end to this pandemic more than anything else. Frontline workers will continue to rely on health care distributors to bring equipment and vaccines to the most vulnerable populations.

Kerry DeBerg