My fear is that thousands of Africans will die today because of a U.S. administration that has too much on it's plate, and a progressive opposition with the exact same problem.
Case in point: Tomorrow is Invisible Children's Global Night Commute, intended to bring national attention to the atrocities being commited in Uganda. I think this is a wonderful idea and I plan on being there, (if just for a bit-- a scheduling anamoly has me working early on Sunday morning.) The Invisible Children guys were on Oprah the other day, sandwiched in between other stories of importance to Africa. This SHOULD have been a monumental moment in getting the U.S. public educated, in that it would have been timed perfectly with the weekend news cycles, putting it in prominent position on the Monday morning outlets.
The problem? On Sunday millions of people will be rallying on the U.S. Capitol and other places across the country to try to get the U.S. and U.N. to do something about the genocide going on in the Darfur region of Sudan. Because this is something that has been simmering in the public consciousness longer, and because it has celebrity power behind it, Monday morning's headlines will read "Save Darfur Efforts Draw Millions," pushing the Global Night Commute to the back pages.
This is unfortunate, but I guess it's just how it goes in a complicated world. As for me, today I'm calling my two Senators , my congressman to urge them to put pressure on the administration to step up the efforts. I'll also be calling Chet Edwards opponent in the fall's election, Van Taylor, to find out what his position is. I encourage you to do the same.
But take a little advice from a former congressional staffer: There are ways to express outrage without being a dickhead. If you cannot do that, your calls will be in vain. The people who answer the phones in these offices have very difficult jobs-- the last thing they need is to hear some amateur policy wonk who thinks they know more than anyone else demean them by being patronizing.
Two more random things about this:
-- I caught the Katie Couric interview with George Clooney and his dad this morning, and I enjoyed it. I am a little pissed off that the NBC execs didn't let Ann Curry do the interview. Curry has lobbied the powers that be to let her have more resources to bring more attention to humanatarian crises around the world, and she's done a great job.
-- Buried underneath the Clooney news and the march this weekend was the Executive Order passed by the President yesterday imposing sanctions on any person, country, or entity that aids the Janjaweed or the Sudanese government. I don't believe in the "liberal media" argument, but I am disappointed that this didn't receive more attention.
(I've got a busy weekend, so I wanted to get this up today.)