02 July 2005

As I watched Live 8...

I spent the better part of the day watching the Live 8 concerts' coverage over aolmusic.com and MTV. Being on the West Coast of North America, I missed out much of the early coverage of the European, South African, and Japanese concerts, but made up for it in a happy moment early afternoon, when I had to choose between the London feed - showing my teeny bopper era idol Mariah Carey belting out "Hero" over the darkening evening skies of Hyde Park - and the Philadelphia feed - showing my current idol Sarah McLachlan singing "Angel" in a duet with Josh Groban, both feeds at the same time. (I ended up evenly splitting between the two feeds.) I am so thankful that so many great names in the recording industry, including names I like and names I have seen in person, have decided to come together today to deliver a powerful message - one of life and hope - to the upcoming G-8 summit in Edinburgh next week. Sincerely, I hope that many of these celebrities will follow up on their promises with action, hopefully by doing some volunteer work in the famine-stricken African countries.

I have signed the online petition at the Live 8 website, and will be following the developments at its US activism arm, One.org, run by U2's Bono. One.org asks that one percent of the US budget be allocated to helping out with the difficulties in developing countries. It is a noble goal that must eventually be met, but I do feel that there are other needs to be met as well, right within the US borders - such as getting everyone medically insured, ending poverty in inner city neighborhoods, and so forth. The money that the US government spends currently on pork-barrel projects - in such pet wars as Iraq, for example - and power-hungry religious cults must be redirected so that the average American will live better and become more productive.

And this is what the so-called "culture of life" movement needs to be all about. So far it has been about taking control away from women over their physical well-being, and trying to save a symbolic life (Terri Schiavo, for example) while ignoring the deaths of many others. I know that the current regime, as much as it talks about "culture of life," couldn't care less if someone like me died because I was unable to obtain medical insurance under the current system and suddenly got sick. Or if someone became victim of gang violence because the inner cities were tragically neglected so that the defense contractors could make more money under another fake war. And the real tragedy is that saving these lives is considered socialist! What is this, being truly pro-life is now part of a failed ideology? I find it utterly unacceptable that ideology of ANY kind has to triumph over the true sanctity of life.

No wonder Bush is rejecting calls for debt amnesty and extra aid by Prime Minister Blair. Bush's calls for a "culture of life" is a hollow call - and it is actually a culture of DEATH.

I am happy that the United States and many other countries sent their most talented popular music artists to worldwide locations to perform for a great cause today. Now the US needs to send a leader that actually fits the bill and has real compassion. And sadly, George W. Bush is not that leader.

The same applies to the Vatican, where the new pope, Benedict XVI, is too busy pandering to the US neocon regime and not pushing the traditional compassionate Catholic message hard enough.