Uno Bono August 11, 2007Posted by fitsnews in 2008 Presidential Primaries, SC Politics, US Politics.
BONO’S “ONE” CAMPAIGN BUILDS UNIQUE, UNLIKELY PALMETTO POLITICAL ALLIANCES
FITSNews – August 11, 2007 – We can still remember the first time we slapped a U2 album onto our parents’ old stereo record player.
The year was 1984 and the record was The Unforgettable Fire, which many regard as the band’s first foray into a social consciousness stretching beyond the waters surrounding their native Ireland. We were only ten years old at the time, and although the emerging political awareness of U2 frontman Bono totally escaped us, songs like “Pride,” “Bad,” “A Sort of Homecoming” and “Wire” ricocheted through our brains with an intensity and sonorous electricity the likes of which we’d never felt before.
Those songs have lost none of their potency in the intervening two-and-a-half decades, although we learned on successive U2 albums The Joshua Tree (1987) and Rattle and Hum (1988) that Bono and his bandmates not only had better songs ahead of them, but that the lead singer whose original Latin stagename “Bono Vox” translates into “good voice” was every bit as much a preacher as he was a performer.
Drawn to activism after attending an Amnesty International event organized by Monty Python legend John Cleese in 1979, Bono used much of U2’s early work (and the concert stages where millions flocked to hear it) as a pulpit for expressing his political, religious and social beliefs. Of course, those views tended to be all over the map and Bono’s mid-concert sermonizing was viewed by some as intruding on the music they had come to hear.
When the band reemerged in 1991 from a three-year hiatus with the groundbreaking (and decidedly non-political) album Achtung Baby, it was clear that Bono’s approach was evolving. Backed by a bold new sound and a “revel in the excess” theatrical approach to performing, U2 embarked on three world tours that firmly established them as one of the greatest, most versatile live acts in the history of rock-n-roll. Yet while U2 was cementing its musical legacy onstage, Bono began putting more substance and structure behind his soliloquies offstage. By the turn of the millenium, he had metamorphosized from random onstage ranter into the most well-organized, influential and respected celebrity advocate on the planet.
Today, Bono is the driving force behind the ONE campaign, a global humanitarian effort to eradicate disease and poverty, as well as its political offshoot, ONE Vote ’08, which aims to make these issues a priority in the upcoming U.S. elections.
According to the ONE campaign’s website, increasing international assistance equivalent to one percent of the U.S. budget would reduce by half the number of children who suffer from hunger, provide free access to primary education for 77 million children, provide access to clean water to 450 million people and basic sanitation to another 700 million, prevent 5.4 million children from dying of poverty-related illnesses each year and save 16,000 lives a day by battling AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Led nationally by former U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, the ONE campaign has established a formidable presence in South Carolina in advance of our “First In The South” presidential primary, a presence that includes some interesting and unlikely alliances.
For example, S.C. One Vote ’08 features longtime antagonists Inez Tenenbaum and Barbara Nielsen (both former State Superintendents of Education), as well as former Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges and S.C. Policy Council V.P. Ashley Landess, a conservative commentator and policy analyst who pretty much cut her teeth in Palmetto politics by roughing up Hodges on a daily basis when he was governor.
Landess tells FITSNews she got involved with the ONE campaign after hearing of a child in Sierra Leone who died of worms.
“Honestly, I didn’t think there was much I could do much to help,” Landess says. “But I knew I had to try, so I asked a few of my friends here in South Carolina to help me raise money for a mission run by family friends that sends money and medicine to Sierra Leone, which is one of the poorest nations in the world.”
Thanks to the efforts of Landess and her friends, enough money was raised by the mission to start construction on a new school in Kabala, a city in the Koinadugu District in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone.
“I didn’t use to believe that one person could make a difference, but I’m glad I was wrong,” says Landess. “Because of that united effort by a small group of people, that school is being built. Think about it – if a group of people here can build a school there, imagine what a focused, committed America can do. I realized that together, we can make a difference in countries where children starve to death every day, and people die of illnesses that can be treated and prevented.”
In the press release announcing the formation of S.C. One Vote ’08, Landess was quick to point out that “this is the first time that Gov. Hodges and I have stood on the same side of an issue.”
They’re not the only ones shocked to see each other on the same side. Other strange bedfellows in the South Carolina effort include former Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin and Palmetto Family Council President Oran P. Smith, who are so far apart on the political spectrum they have to use a Hubble telescope to see each other.
Many attribute ONE’s bipartisan appeal to Bono’s cross-demographic drawing power. Conservative Christians love him because he tends to wear his faith on his sleeve, while secular liberals are magnetized by the humanitarian focus of his activism and philanthropy.
Of course, the ONE campaign is not alone in seeking to engage South Carolina voters, who will be among the first in the nation to cast their presidential ballots in 2008. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, for example, is another grassroots group that’s actively working the state’s political landscape in an effort to educate the public to the staggering cost of ignoring preventative care, chronic disease management and healthy lifestyle choices.
Over the coming weeks, count on FITSNews to keep you in the loop not only on the candidates looking to receive your votes, but the groups looking to influence why you go to the polls in the first place.