Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Power of Positive Rhetoric: Bono & Geldof

"By the way, Bono has come to see me. I admire him. He is a man of depth and a great heart, who cares deeply about the impoverished folks on the continent of Africa. And I admire his leadership on the issue."
President George W. Bush
Joint Press Conference with Tony Blair
G8 Summit, June 7, 2005

While most celebrities and a good many politicians squander their credibility through the bizarre use of hyperbole and hate speech, some very principled individuals work both in out in front and behind the scenes to effect real change and improvements for the peoples of the world.

This week a huge step forward to assist the world's poor, especially in Africa, was achieved in no small part through the efforts of Bob Geldof and U2 lead singer, Bono. Both these rock stars have proven themselves to be extraordinary statesmen.

Carefully avoiding the kind of divisive hate speech so inartfully spewed by Howard Dean, Bono has managed to become a respected advisor and advocate by both the Clinton and Bush administrations. As you can read above, President Bush publicly credited Bono for his forceful and articulate lobbying for African debt relief. Bono is a favorite of Condi Rice, who introduced him to Bush and other Bush advisors. He has become a regular in the Bush White House.

Bono was also a favorite and a regular at the Clinton White House. As a friend and supporter of President Clinton it would have been easy for Bono to follow in the footsteps of many of his fellow musicians and Hollywood celebrities and simply condemn and trash Bush.

Instead, Bono took the high road and made friends and gained credibility. In other words, Bono put his principles well above politics. His goal was genuinely to help the poor people in the world. It would be very wrong to underestimate the role he and fellow British musician Bob Geldof played in the announcement of the landmark $40 Billion Dollar debt relief package promised by the member nations of the G8 Summit.

If only other celebrities could follow in Bono's footsteps.