What would Bono do?
Earlier this year, as part of the celebrations for the Irish Voice newspaper’s 25th anniversary, U2 frontman Bono spoke to the Irish Voice paper’s editor on a multitude of topics, from his personal life and music to charity and politics.
During the interview the music legend told the Irish Voice that he was impressed with the Democrat candidate Barack Obama. The pair have met on several occasions, and U2 even played at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony in 2008.
However Bono doesn’t endorse political candidates per se. He looks at their track records when it comes to African debt relief, and if they’re committed to spending money for things like AIDS prevention and poverty elimination. If he approves then he’ll be on board.
Bono worked well with the Republican President George W. Bush and counts both Democrat and Republican politicians as his allies and activism.
During his current term President Obama has made a commitment to lift Africans out of poverty. Speaking about working with President Obama Bono said “It’s interesting that his approach is in partnerships.
He added that lots of countries in Africa have ideas on how to get their agriculture more efficient, how to help farmers, so he has a very interesting angle on that.
“The U.S. should be proud, extremely proud. You’ve led the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and it’s really a monumental achievement – 6.6 million people are alive thanks in large part to American investments and leadership.”
The Dublin musician admits that the race for the White House this year is “interesting”.
He said “The ONE campaign [the movement Bono co-founded to fight poverty and disease] is probably the only thing that the two sides of the aisle agree on.”
This year Bono met with a bipartisan group of senators in Ghana. They were visiting to see exactly how the US funds were being used.
“These are tough senators. Senator Lindsey Graham, tough guy, asking hard questions about where taxpayer money was going to be spent. And that’s great. The conviction that he could come with, that he had been fighting for these people.”
Bono continued “Then we have had Democrats like Senator Patrick Lahey leading the charge for years. They’ve all been fighting to save lives. And it’s a small percentage of the overall budget. People think it’s like 10%, but really it’s less than 1%.
“So America can be very proud of that. And Ireland, by the way, on hunger Ireland has been at the top. (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny has retained his commitment, and the Labor Party has retained its commitment.”
Bone went on to speak about meeting with the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He said “He was very interested in what we are doing, and he understood the sort of dimension of the United States involvement with the developing world.”
“On a security level, on a commercial level, Africa will be nearly twice the population of China by 2050. Which is the future really.”
As well as being passionate about Africa and fighting poverty he is even more passionate about the Irish people.
When reminded that immigration reform, to aid the some 50,000 undocumented Irish in the United States will also be something that President in 2013 will have to tackle he said “Indeed, and I might say, where would America be without the Irish?”
He added Irish people are incredible. You know, we live on a small rock in the North Atlantic, where the weather is shite. But the people are brilliant!”