The war on terror has been the United States’ global battle for the past five years. While it is debatable whether the United States is winning the war, it has no doubt dominated our national attention.There is another war, however, that has been going on for ages and has been all but ignored by the general public: the war on poverty.
It is reprehensible to imagine the amount of resources we waste that could be used to help eliminate poverty.
Thanks to a new organization called ONE we now have a way to let those in power know we are pledged to fight the global AIDS epidemic and extreme poverty.
The ONE campaign gets its name from the U2 song “One.” The organization believes, according to one.org, that by allocating 1 percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs such as health, education, clean water and food, “we can help transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the world’s poorest countries.”
Bono, the lead singer of U2 and spokesperson for the ONE campaign, told a reporter from Rolling Stone Magazine last November that, “… this generation will be able to eradicate extreme poverty … I call it stupid poverty: kids dying of starvation.”
Unlike other charitable endeavors, the ONE campaign seeks your voice not your money. Its goal is to make the government aware of the public’s desire to see senseless poverty and disease end. ONE is aligned with various charitable organizations such as World Vision, Bread for the World and DATA or debt, aids, trade, Africa. Poverty is one of the main causes of war. Desperate nations do desperate things to get the world’s attention. A poor African or Asian who sees the vanity and waste in U.S. culture, while his or her children go hungry, probably can’t help but wonder where our values lie.
The United States has a sublime opportunity to redeem itself in the eyes of the world from its current reputation as a war-mongering bully. The ONE campaign is an opportunity to make a different American ideal a reality for the rest of the world.
In his book “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “The time has come for an all-out war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to … feed the unfed.”
No excuse remains for the continued loss of life from preventable diseases and starvation. The United States has been given its blessings, not to hoard, but to share with the rest of the world. King adds in his aforementioned book: “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.'”
To summarize what Bono told the audience during a U2 concert in Chicago, this is our movement – meaning the young generation born after the 1960s. We have an opportunity to be remembered for something more than iPods and cell phones – the chance to eliminate hunger on a worldwide scale. Visit the one.org and “e-sign” the declaration to show your support for the goals of ONE. Let the policymakers in Washington, D.C., know that the poor have a voice – yours.
Erick Raven is a first year graduate student in the school of education from Grand Prairie. His column appears every Friday.