I think by now most of us who watch TV have likely seen the ads for The ONE Campaign
- the black and white montage of famous and or important people explaining that the because the world hunger situation and the AIDS epidemic are so desperate aid organizations are working together as one and speaking with one voice to attempt to truly put an end to starvation and to the worldwide AIDS epidemic.
One of the first things I couldn’t help but think was how strange or unattractive these people, mostly movie stars, happened to look. That, of course, made me feel a bit guilty- while they’re talking about starvation and AIDS I am thinking Benicio Del Toro looks creepier than usual. That is shortly followed by thinking, “eh, alright they’re gonna ask for money- and I feel like I should do something. I’ll think it is important, but I probably won’t do anything- maybe I’d go to the website and just give a few dollars- whatever.” But the ad ends with (I think) Tom Hanks saying “we’re not asking for your money, we’re asking for your voice.”
They don’t want my money? Well, ok- I’ll check out the website. And actually, this is kind of a cool ad campaign aimed at having Americans voice that they care, that they want change. The name ONE has a lot of different meanings- dealing with it being the ONE big campaign of many organizations acting as one. But what stands out is its argument that the US Federal Government should spend an additional 1% of its budget every year toward providing basic assistance, and that doing so “would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation of the poorest countries.”
OK, now I get it- it’s the hippie left and the “liberal holywood elite” that are saying the same thing as always- we should save the world and with more government spending, with more tax dollars going to other countries- more foreign aid, etc. and we can save the world.
Except it isn’t the same old hippie left and liberal elite.
The group that at first seems full of movie stars and musicians is somewhat diverse and contains a broader political range than just the far left, the moderate left, or even the center. Was it surprising to see Pat Robertson in the same commercial speaking for the same organization as Ellen DeGeneres?
Yes. Yes it was.
But it was also good.
These very Christian and very secular aid groups are getting together and very right wing and very left wing people are getting together in support. The secular left is a-ok with tax dollars going to a faith based charity when that faith based charity is giving grains and teaching agriculture to Africans- and the religious right is just fine with tax dollars going to a secular medical charity when that charity is building hospitals, training doctors and giving vaccinations.
It was good to see that maybe the divide between the activist left and the equally activist right isn’t as large as some people
tend to claim.
As my roommate asked the other day- when did refusing to help people become a Christian value? I think that so much of the socially conservative right wing in America is not as conservative as we make them out to be. How many people would be opposed to spending one percent of the federal budget towards additional aid to help educate, feed and inoculate people around the world living on less than a dollar a day?
How many people are willing to wear those white wristbands that say: YES, US government; please go spend the money I’m giving you to help people?
Those that are now economically ambivalent but vote for conservatives because they oppose gay marriage- would they after wearing a wristband, after thinking of the plight of others, after heeding the counsel of Billy Graham and Pat Robertson (and especially the one they seek to represent) after giving of themselves to help others and encouraging their government to do the same- would they vote against some one who opposes gay marriage because he/she also opposes international aid?
I certainly hope so. Because it’s important.
So go check out ONE
- sign their petition/pledge if you feel so inclined.
They don’t want your money, just your voice. But visiting made me think… if I am to demand that my government, that the United States allocate an additional 1% ought I do the same thing?
Yes, I give 10% of what I make plus some fast offerings- but those are things I already committed to do because of something I believe in. If I also believe in this- then why should I not do something to make a difference? King Benjamin counseled to give if we have and not suffer the beggar to put up his petition in vain- why do I only think of that when some one asks for cash on the street- but not when millions are dying throughout the world from preventable disease and starvation?
So… I need to do something different. When I budget to give ten percent back to God, I want to also budget to give a specified one percent back to my brothers and sisters. Hopefully I will give more than that in multiple ways- but I want to be a part of making a difference- even symbolically. Why not just make 10 louder? Because these go up to 11.