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The ‘victim card’ always obscures the truth

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“Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck,” defense attorney Robert Shapiro, who headed the “dream team” of attorneys for O.J. Simpson’s 1995 murder trial, later said about one of the most infamous criminal cases of the 20th century, in acknowledging that the team played the race card to help get Simpson acquitted.

I’ve known the radical left to use the victim card — be it race, gender or some other immutable human condition — to obscure the truth. To my shock and amazement, I heard Nevada’s senior U.S. senator, Republican Dean Heller, use this shallow tactic recently during a discussion about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository that I attended along with several members of NevadansCan; we were among about 200 people to attend his speech at a men’s club that wasn’t open to the media.

{mosads}Sen. Heller’s opposition on Yucca Mountain is no secret. And he has clashed with Energy Secretary Rick Perry on the issue. But at this recent political gathering of Republicans, when asked about the possibility of converting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste permanent storage facility plans into a safe national nuclear recycling center, Sen. Heller commented that he opposes everything about Yucca Mountain.


His argument was convoluted and nonsensical — that anyone who disagrees with him would be, in essence, supporting the election of his Democratic opponent, Jackie Rosen, who also opposes using Yucca Mountain for any purpose.

Heller asserted that if Rosen were elected, Nevada would have the least senior Senate delegation in the state’s history and that President Trump could steamroll over the delegation to make Yucca Mountain a permanent nuclear waste storage facility.

Heller’s implication was that being open-minded about options for Yucca Mountain equals being a Democrat. I have heard of playing the race card, the gender card, and even the sexual orientation card, but I have never heard of a Republican “victim card” being played until it was dealt by Heller.

We believe that converting Yucca Mountain to a nuclear recycling mission would present massive economic savings and potential benefits to Nevada and America — results that the senator, as a Republican, could support. A nuclear waste recycling center would provide Nevada with the foundation for establishing a national carbon-free energy security center.  

Imagine a Republican member of the U.S. Senate refusing to support a proposal that could potentially create thousands of high-paying jobs and generate billions of dollars in fees and taxes, which could be distributed in annual payments to citizens and government, similar to the Alaska oil pipeline agreement.

Many people in Nevada reject the permanent dump plans for the Yucca Mountain area and seek far better solutions, such as recycling the more than 95 percent of recoverable uranium and other critically needed minerals for our economy and national security.

Various types of nuclear spent-fuel recycling have existed since World War II, and some nations that use nuclear power currently recycle their spent fuel into new fuel. Among the centers of expertise on how to safely recycle used nuclear fuel — and profit by doing so — are France, with its La Hague Reprocessing Plant, and the U.S. Department of Energy Argonne National Lab in Chicago. The smart plan for Nevada and the United States would be to establish a partnership between these two global centers of excellence, build a joint national nuclear fuel recycling center near Yucca Mountain, and create new reactor fuels from the currently held spent fuel.

It’s too bad that Sen. Heller thought that the only way to garner Republican support for his obtuse thinking was to say, “If you don’t agree with me, you support my opponent.”  

Treating Republican voters like children, by using demagoguery on a matter as vital to national security as a Yucca Mountain nuclear recycling center, does not help resolve such an important issue for Nevada and our country. We citizens need to choose to stop being treated as victims.

Niger Innis is the national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and a co-founder of the NevadansCAN Network, a grassroots organization of concerned Nevada citizen-activists.

Tags Dean Heller Donald Trump Energy Radioactive waste Rick Perry Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository

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