Sunday, April 30, 2006

Our Priorities, Ourselves

Today people all over the country attended rallies to protest the genocide in Darfur. Kudos to everybody who took the time to participate in an event today.

It would be really unseemly for me to post about how John Kerry was speaking out against the crisis even before the Save Darfur Coalition was founded, but I can't speak to my own interest in the region without referring to the first time I remember anyone speaking out about Darfur: a little over a year ago on April 21, 2005.

I was glued to C-SPAN 2, waiting to see if the Senate was going to erupt into the nuclear option, when I saw Senator Kerry make these remarks.

The threat of the nuclear option was never realized, and I think we're the better for it, but the speech John Kerry gave that day still sticks out in my mind because of passages like this one:

"It's not up to any one of us to tell another colleague what to believe as a matter of faith. But I can tell you what I believe: When tens of thousands of innocent souls have perished in Darfur-when 11 million children are without health insurance-when our colossal debt subjects our economic future to the whims of Asian bankers-no one can tell me that faith demands this Senate spend its time arguing over a handful of judges. No one with those priorities can use my faith to intimidate me."

When John Kerry ran for president in 2004, I remember feeling really fortunate that I could vote for someone who shared so many of my priorities. Unfortunately, Republican hegemony prevails in the White House, the courts, and in both houses of Congress, and priorities of all three branches of government are, sadly, missing the moral component Senator Kerry spoke of last April.

I sincerely hope that every American who is so passionately committed to ending the suffering in Darfur will remember to register and vote in the midterm elections this November. The progressive, compassionate citizens of the world can make a difference in global diplomacy if we do our part to band together to elect the government we deserve.

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