As a musician, I have a natural aversion to politicians. In fact, I believe in democracy simply because I distrust all politicians equally.
And yet, I have a tremendous amount of faith and belief in humanity. When it comes to folks outside of the power schemes I might even trust people too much. I am ruthlessly idealistic, hopelessly optimistic. I believe the best in people. That’s why I have to do something, because I feel that if people knew the truth, they would feel the same as I do. They would feel that something has to be done. They would care and things would change.
President Barack Obama last week requested a $1.5 billion emergency appropriation to deal with a flu outbreak that has killed 3 people in the US. I believe this action was in response to a nation experiencing “what could potentially be the biggest national emergency since Y2K” (genius comparison courtesy of glenn phillips.)
An estimated 300,000 folks have already died in Darfur and we do nothing… $0.00. And three people die of the flu and we spend $1.5 billion to figure things out. $1,500,000,000.00
I understand the need for precautionary measures but this feels like reactionary spending when I am reminded of the 2,500,000 people whose lives hang in the balance in displacement camps? What can be done for them? don’t tell me nothing.
Obama: “We can’t ignore the genocide in Darfur… We have to do everything in our power to make it stop. We have to act. Now.”
Nothing? Years and years go by… and still… nothing…
Our national inaction sends the simple message that a whole crowd of Sudanese souls are not worth as much as an American with the flu. “Surely this is not true!” we protest. And yet our actions speak louder than our words.
There’s something broken with the system.
We the people of the united states of america… We are the system. We are the media. We are the government. We are the twittering public. We the people of the united states of america… we own this place. We decide who is president. We pick the next american idol. Obama our leader, is in many ways a follower of his people. In a state where the vote of the populous determines the next face of the government, a politician must listen to his/her constituents to remain in power. I believe nothing was done for Darfur because Obama doesn’t think the public cares about Darfur.
Perhaps we can blame the media- perhaps the public doesn’t care because they are uninformed, or at least under-informed? Yes, but in many ways “the news” is simply a vendor trying to sell a product, we tell them (with our viewing, purchasing power) what product sells. Britney, Brangelina, or Bosnia. we choose the news.
And now for the staggering fact: you and I are the problem and the solution.
I have this amazing friend. One of my dearest friends from college. He is a legendary musician. Hilariously funny (seriously, seriously does the best Dana Carvey impressions). A brilliant song-writer and musician. Wicked awesome surfer. All around good guy. The kind of friend who would be there when the you know what hits the fan. But, truly, one of the things I love most about him is his passion to take a stand for those in need of advocacy. He has supported many causes throughout his career and amidst massive fame and success still lives a very, very simple life. Let me just say that he chooses to live simply and to give generously when he could live the "cribs" lifestyle. He is the real deal. Walks the talk. Puts his money where his mouth is. Humbly, ever-so-humbly speaks his mind in a thoughtful way that makes you sit up and listen.
His name: Jon Foreman
His claim for fame: front man for the band "Switchfoot" and solo artist with amazing solo albums as well.
He is in the midst of a 3 day fast to show his solidarity with the people of Darfur. It is pretty staggering when you stop to see what is going on.
This is what I read tonight, written by Jon just a couple days ago on Darfur Fast For Life:
I am not sure where that hits you, but as a mom, it definitely gets me fired up. I will be contacting the powers that be to demand action, praying vehemently for the people of Darfur, and seriously considering how I can join in this fast. More than anything, I am hit between the eyes with the reality that I had no idea the crisis was this severe. I have American Idol on in the background as I write this and I feel more than a bit disgusted. Hypnotized and over-advertised.