Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Championing the Poor

Props to President Bush and Bono for today's tete-a-tete on behalf of the poor! Whatever you think of Bono, you have to admire his moral courage (and he ain't a bad singer either)!

Bono told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview before they dined that he had no fear of meeting Bush or any other world leader.

"They should be afraid, because they will be held accountable for what happened on their watch," Bono told the magazine for an article on newsstands Friday. "I'm representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I'm throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to people who can't be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent.

"The moral force is way beyond mine, it's an argument that has much more weight than I have. So I'm not feeling nervous."


Anonymous "Omis" said...

Bono rocks in every way.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Peter Nixon said...


I support many of the things that Bono does, but there is a vaguely messianic feel to his comments that leave me uneasy. And while I appreciate his advocacy, I wonder whether it can really be called "moral courage." Courage suggests that Bono is taking a risk or potentially paying a price for his advocacy. I don't really see that he is doing that. I think there is a difference between someone whose advocacy arises out of a life lived among the poor (e.g. Dorothy Day), and someone in Bono's situation.

I'm not trying to drag the man down and I admire Bono for what he does. But it reminds me of friends of mine who think I'm "brave" for doing prison ministry. The reality is that no volunteer in either of the programs I work in has ever be injured or even been at risk of injury. And my work with these men has in no way altered my relatively comfortable, middle class existence. So where's the bravery?

3:46 PM  
Blogger ukok said...

I kind of agree with Peter. I really like Bono and I appreciate what he is attempting to do, but he doesn't 'speak for the people', he hasn't been elected. Still, I like him, a lot!

God Bless.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Well, I think it's the 'rock-star' complex. It's part of who he is. He's no saint, and I haven't heard him claiming to be one. But he has used his state in life to do a lot of good; maybe not in the same way we would have, but in his own way.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

I need to read more about Bono. Was he always like this or did something happened that has taken him in this course? I'm glad that he is bringing the topic of poverty to the forefront.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous "Omis" said...

Bono and his bandmates came from a working-class Irish background, worked hard in what they do to get where they are, and are turning around their fortunes because they know they have a mouthpiece and influence.

So what that Bono's not like Dorothy Day? He's doing things for the world's poor that I sure can't do, because I'm still just a working-class schmuck. I don't think he has a "complex" because he's a rockstar, I think he has a balanced view about his position in relation to the world.

Why is someone thought have less courage to devote their life to the world's poor if they're rich when they do it? Why are the rich and famous so often assumed to have a caveat to their compassion?

6:18 PM  
Blogger Peter Nixon said...

I have no problem with the idea that Bono is "compassionate." That word definitely works for me. But "courage" doesn't, for the reasons I describe. Webster's defines it as "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain etc. without fear; bravery."

There are many people who I deeply admire solely on the basis of their compassion. But I wouldn't use the word "courageous" to describe them.

I'm probably making too much of this. I certainly appreciate U2's music and I appreciate Bono's advocacy. But there is something to be said for using words precisely.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I like his music, and I'm glad he's speaking out for the poor. I don't know about his claims to spiritual poverty or moral force; I'm not the judge of that. I do know that he is a celebrity and has built his public persona based on his background as the son of working class Irish and as a clandestine revolutionary (maybe.) He also uses poetic language like he did here to build that persona. That persona is part of what makes him wealthy, so I take it with a grain of salt. I have no idea of his intentions, but I do know that Jesus can do good things for the poor through him, so I am glad that he is doing what he is doing.

11:48 PM  

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