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Ali Hewson and her husband Bono

Time to draft Bono for President of Ireland

\"Ali

Ali Hewson and her husband Bono

There is much talk of Mrs Bono, Ali Hewson for president of Ireland when the job becomes available in 2010.

I have a much better idea. Why not her husband?

I write after reading his superb op-ed piece in The New York Times this weekend. At a time when politicians worldwide are trying to explain unsuccessfully what has happened to all of us in these trying times Bono does it simply and clearly.

Give him the bully pulpit of the presidency of Ireland and he could transform it into a wondrous thing -- even match Barack Obama in terms of his world stature and influence.

"So much of the discussion today is about value not values," he writes simply. Got it.

Simply put, he's wasting his time as a rock singer. Give him a political platform and he will energize the world the same way his music has energized the masses.

He can speak in true sentences, direct them at our hearts and succeed. Rather like his lyrics, the simplicity is all.

"Lent is upon us whether we asked for it or not" he says referring to the Catholic period of fast,observance and questioning of our souls.

Indeed it is, the soul-baring and breast-beating in the wake of this dreadful recession is everywhere to be seen. We are bound for the darkness of Good Friday and Easter, the redemption time, may or may not happen this year or next year either.

He talks about hearing a preacher preach at Easter. "The preacher said ' what good does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" Hearing this he writes: "every one of the pilgrims gathered in the room asked 'Is it me Lord?" In America, in Europe people are asking ,'is it us?'"

Then come his killer line.

"Well yes, it is us."

Thank you Bono for telling us straight that we all bear responsibility, that we all got too greedy, that we all felt that value -- not values -- was where life was at.

"The carnival is over," he says. The circus animals have left town.

But there is hope, like all great politicians he plants the seed of how change might occur.

He notes that Americans are taking up public service in record numbers. He notes that the debt forgiveness drive he harnessed in Africa has resulted in 34 million more kids going to school and that Congress has recently restored budgets for the needy cut by the previous administration.

Most of all he says we are all in this together, whether in Mumbai or Manchester or Massachusetts. He draws the global arc around all our troubles and shows how together  we might address them. "Capitalism is on trial, globalization is again in the dock," he notes.

Then he thinks of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet,the two richest men on the globe who are giving it all away, and of Nelson Mandela, the greatest inspirational figure still living. All he notes are either agnostic in the case of Buffett and Gates, and spiritual, rather than religious, in the case of Mandela.

His point is that goodness can come from other sources outside of religion, but that religion has a powerful role to play too. "Religion is where I soul search," he says.

We all need to soul-search and we need this quality of insight and clarity far more than we ever had. We need Bono not as rock star, but as an elected politician ready and willing to speak truth to power. We need him as president of Ireland in 2010.

For Bono too, as he approaches his 50th birthday and the dreaded title of "aging rock star," the change to political office would be emboldening and refreshing. We have yet to see the best of this remarkable man and the political arena should be his next destination. President of Ireland would give him that.

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