Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bono and Bush

U2's lead singer Bono has been in the spotlight in the last few days, including this profile in the NYT Magazine:
He's a kind of one-man state who fills his treasury with the global currency of fame. He is also, of course, an emanation of the celebrity culture. But it is Bono's willingness to invest his fame, and to do so with a steady sense of purpose and a tolerance for detail, that has made him the most politically effective figure in the recent history of popular culture.
Bono took part in the Clinton Initiative summit this last weekend. Surrounded by the likes of economist Jeffrey Sachs and neocon Paul Wolfowitz, he pointed out the importance of transparency among third world governments in order to reassure people in the U.S. that funds donated to developing nations were in fact reaching those in need. This comment illustrated Bono's depth of understanding of the issues, which is light years beyond the usual naive celebrity appeal for donations, and has a great deal to do with Bono's remarkable effectiveness on the world stage.
Last night I watched a recording of U2's stirring performance at the 2002 Super Bowl (at the New Orleans Superdome) where Bono sang, "I want to dance in the Louisiana rain" during the band's performance of "Where the Streets Have no Name." It was a moment of hope, of reaching for something more universal than military retaliation, a moment before our president plunged us into a war of choice with a country that had not attacked us.
Christian activist Jim Wallis wrote in The Soul of Politics, "We can find common ground only by moving to higher ground." With his famous gesture showing the U.S. flag inside his jacket, Bono showed that it is possible to demonstrate solidarity with our country's pain and pride while reaching for higher ground.
Our president chose the lowest common denominator when he showed that he was willing to divide our country and alienate our allies in order to push for the invasion of Iraq. Who will be judged as being more naive: Bono or Bush?
(Photo: unbekannt)


Blogger Lew Scannon said...

I believe that Bono really is more naive than Bush, but about a hundred times more intelligent. Bono reads, while Bush has things read to him.

10:13 PM, September 18, 2005  

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