Friday, April 28, 2006

Save Darfur, (as well as Uganda, New Orleans, the environment, Iran, and North Korea, and go ahead and get out of Iraq. Oh, and end poverty.)

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.)


Aho said...

"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."

well said. it does seem that we have an inability to be outraged with being inarticulate. an unfortunate situation for those of us with real convictions.

jenA said...

i vote for a global charity tax. that way everyone contributes and we've properly figured saving the world into our national budget.

Tom said...

Too much on the plate... all of those stories were buried behind the live coverage of the "Day Without Immigrants".

ben said...

Craig, sorry that i haven't been reading your blog lately. i haven't been reading anyone's...but i finally sat down to read it and loved this post. As a fellow "wonk" phone caller i appreciate that you picked up your phone and called. I am with you that this stuff can be a bit many things to save. I wonder if there is a way that we can step back from all the individual "causes" and try and find some solutions that would keep us from getting in these situations in the first place. In the words of the greatest pop star of all times, "I'm starting with the Man in the Mirror. I'm asking him to make a change. No message could have been any clearer, if you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that, make that Change! Whew, make that change. Shaman!" and moon walk right on out...

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