By Radh Achuthan
Senator Barack Obama proposes to the American electorate, a 'more perfect union' to be achieved by the American people. He builds on the promises in the constitution pursued with vigor in the past by political leaders like presidents Lincoln, FDR and Johnson, and spiritual leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. His remarkable skills in organizing communities have succeeded through the democratic primaries to get the people to strive beyond the expected golden harvest from the democratic past, presented by Senator Hillary Clinton. In the US national election of 2008, the stale program of violence offered by the Republicans contrasts with the fertile transformation offered in the Obama vision. His futuristic slogan "this election is about you and not me" is a tactical winner and a strategic strong horse. Further, support for his candidacy offers catharsis over one aspect of American attitude and provides an opportunity to cleanse the sullied image abroad of the American administration.
However, the continuing disconnection of the American people and corporations, as well as the middle class and well off of other countries, from entrenched poverty and its associated sufferings, is worthy of our concern and action.
Some leaders have made substantial contributions toward lowering poverty creating some connectedness as we entered this decade:
Since the 1960s, Preacher Jim Wallis of the Sojourners has attempted to focus our attention on global poverty; from the 1980s onwards, Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. has emphasized that religion must be an active part of daily living for each of us in contemporary society, rather than a token Sunday spiritual event of praying and giving; and Rev. Rick Warren has questioned whether the 148 million orphans of the world should not be helped through a global program of caring.
2500 million people live on less than $2 each per day. This results in 30,000 people dying of poverty each day! Where does accountability for this outcome rest: in a punitive God? Original Sin or Karma? In Presidents, Prime Ministers, Legislatures, or those who participate in the structural violence of the global political economy? Specifically, are the 1200 million people of the First World population residing in all countries that make more than $8 each per day, accountable for these daily poverty deaths?
During the current watch, could we move towards 'a more perfect global union' in meeting the minimum material needs of all? Could we find ways to tweak the global political economy, as each of us has the resources of empathy and compassion from the Source within us and need look no further to feel a connection to those in poverty?
Given our conditioned preference for a secular approach to clarify and act on such questions, the First World populations of different faiths could be surveyed on whether the global political economy should continue with poverty deaths in their name, and if not, what it is they are prepared to do to eliminate poverty? Such a survey could be carried out by a global attitudes research team, such as the PEW Research Center. It is a matter of urgency for us to consider what we can do, as so many in poverty await resolution!
It is my expectation, that an outcome of such a survey would be to not wish to identify with any responsibility for the ills of poverty (which would strengthen the MMNA position: "No Poverty Deaths in My Name"). This could lead to positive global action enabling us to "Meet the Minimum Needs of All" through a consensus for the humanizing of corporate goals. It is time to operate globally utilizing our resources in empathy and compassion on matters that lead to life / death governance, and retire the "Clash of Civilizations, us and them" mindset. The people can do it.