*Ahem!* We will leave the chest hair and crazy, cool medallions for another day. (And no, this isn't more backstory delivered in a tortuously slow and circuitous fashion. You wish.)
Okay, so I'm watching t.v. here lately (it's one of the things I do) and my TiVo offered up a trailer for Peter Jackson's King Kong remake. Lord love him, he cast Jack Black, I think as a sort of Peter Jackson-ish director playing a director kind of character. Seriously, that's my theory. I am distracted by Black's presence (although I like him a lot generally speaking) because he's usually not a serious character in the least. That and Naomi Watts is a beautiful woman but her hands look ape-ish. Ah, well, there's no doubling to be had at this point. (Or maybe, I overthink to myself, Jackson liked that about her because he felt that it was kind of a visual note on her connection with Kong. They are alike. Do I scare anybody?) Also, side snarky note- what is up with those muscles in her cheeks? I was distracted all the way through 21 Grams. Anyhoo, I like Naomi- specially her comic stuff and I like Jackson and I like Black, so maybe I will like King Kong. And you know I like TiVo. You don't even have to ask.
But what I really wanted to say something about is this G8 summit coming up in Scotland. Powerful men are going to make decisions about how our world goes forward. About whether we have mercy on the poor and the sick. On whether poverty stricken countries might actually begin to be able to participate in the economy the rest of us partake in. My younger brother explained to me a long while back why "free trade" coffee isn't actually all that free. How it didn't end up helping the people it was supposed to help the way it was supposed to help them. And I wish I could remember what he said because it was some of that kind of counterintuitive stuff that's fun to understand because it's so hidden and, well, counterintuitive. If he reads this (and he won't- he's a busy, busy web trends consultant) maybe he'll explain it again.
But I digress. Again. But I'm a strange one politically. For instance, I tend to be conservative but I believe in a living wage. (Will it shock our economy? I suggest we are due for a shock. I can't believe that in our nation we are nasty enough to dedicate ourselves to gathering unusable amounts of personal wealth while structuring things so that many human beings are crushed financially and personally. Hold out your paw, America. You're gonna get a good smack.
And, as I am fond of letting people know (as if I had no other ways to be special), I lived in South Africa for a year. I traveled to places like Moçambique where not only were land mines still plentiful, but money and opportunities absolutely were not. And, yeah, I took the obligatory tour through Soweto in RSA. And yes, Johannesburg was pretty much desolate. And yes, those babies and children and young women and young men and adults and old people were being wiped out by AIDS. Some of those African countries are losing entire generations of their population. My inner elephant is still pissed that Glaxo-Wellcom took so long to allow them to get the drugs they needed cheaper, faster. (And, yes, I do happen to be aware of the staggering costs drug companies incur bringing new drugs to the market, as well as the staggering costs they incur working on drugs that never make it to the market. I understand why their patents exist. I understand they've got to make expenses and can't go giving everything away every time somebody is sick. HOWEVER, sometimes, when millions and millions of poor people are being annihilated by a disease you've found a way to ameloriate and put off (and in the case of infants, actually cure), well, I think you start to think about taking one for the team.
Sometimes, I think you need to give with your right hand while your left hand doesn't even know what's going on. In other words, I believe that sometimes you've got to say f*ck it to the rules of finances and profits and shareholders and wealth building and whatnot and just show the world an utter deed of love. I am running around with this idea that we wealthy nations should not oppress the poor. Not here, not there. Which is why I believe in forgiving third world debt for those countries who realistically cannot repay it, increasing aid to poor countries, levelling the playing field so that they can begin to participate in a viable way in the world economy, and making big changes in the lives of those afflicted by/ threatened by HIV/AIDS in the continent of Africa.
And that brings me to the Live 8 stuff going on this Saturday, July 2nd. (Looks like they're doing a second thing on July 6th in Edinburgh, Scotland, since it's closer to home for the actual G8 summit.) I would ask you to turn on your t.v. (MTV and VH1 will definitely show it) and watch (Sir) Bob Geldof do his thing yet again (better than the '80's, promise) with tons and tons of other human beings who believe in lifting up the oppressed. Like I do. Like you do. And, no, I probably won't start running around with a white rubber bracelet (there are too many of them anymore and my inner fashionista knows it) but I've definitely signed this letter because this kind of plan and behavior is right. Not only that, but as a conservative, Christian American, I can tell you flat out that this is the kind of plan God makes for us and this is the way God behaves toward us. How are we gonna stop the flow of that love and generosity to people around us in this world who are crushed by their circumstances? We'll inherit horrible things if we are willing to turn our faces away from the suffering of other human beings.
So, when the G8 get to Scotland, I hope they've heard from tens of millions of people. I hope they've heard from you. ONE is the right way to do it, too. You wouldn't believe the power there is in human beings agreeing on one thing.
It's time, as Kenneth Patchen put it, to
Be generous to generations who had nothing
To take, or give. O be willing to wait no longer.
Build men, not creeds; seed not soil-
O raise the standards out of reach.
new men new world new life
Or as I like to put it,
Make me proud.