Saturday, August 23, 2008

God Forgive Me! Simon and Garfunkel 101

Voices Of Old People - Simon & Garfunkel

Dear Barack Obama,

This little clip is not the whole of the "Voices of Old People" segment on the Simon and Garfunkel Bookends album. And, it ends, "God forgive me." I think the actual album quote continues, (my memory isn't as good as it used to be) "An old person without money, is pathetic." And oh, yes, how true that is.

But honey, anyone, young or old, without money, without the hope of money, without the power for generating money, is pathetic. That is the plight, that is the fear, that is the demon of the poor.

Let me repeat a little story from one of my favorite Nobel Peace Prize winners, Muhammad Yunus. (Quoted from USA Today on May 21, 2008)

The way he tells the story, every time a new head of the World Bank is named, he calls Yunus. When James Wolfensohn became World Bank president, he welcomed Yunus to lunch and began to quiz him about his recently announced goal for reducing — and ultimately eliminating — poverty.

"I understand you intend to lift 100 million people out of poverty," Wolfensohn said.

"That's right," Yunus told him.

"Don't you think that's a little overly ambitious?" asked Wolfensohn.

"No," said Yunus. "We've looked at the numbers and we think we can do it. But," Yunus went on, "if you think it's too ambitious, what do you think is a better number?"

When Wolfensohn didn't answer, Yunus offered a number.

"10 million?"

Wolfensohn shook his head. Too low.

"20 million?" Yunus offered.

From Wolfensohn's reaction it was clear that number was still too low.

"How about 50 million?" Yunus asked.

Wolfensohn seemed pleased by that number.

"That sounds about right, " he said.

"OK," Yunus told him, "you do 50 million and I'll do 100 million."

And that's how you win the Nobel Peace Prize: by making peace with the powers-that-be, the keepers of the status quo, rather than by declaring war on them.

Next week, Barack, as you accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, and as you talk about change, talk about this. Talk about changing the capitalist system that so empowers the already rich, the fat businesses, the oil monopolies, the "haves", and so disempowers the poor, the poor, the poor, the "have nots". Tell us that the United States will join with the World Bank and Muhammad Yunus, and say: "We'll work on our 36 million." They are ours. We'll take care of them." I don't want to hear about what we can't do Barack, because, we are spending so much on war. I want to hear how we can end poverty for our 36 million.

Anything less, is pathetic.


PS If you are at a loss for ideas on how to do this, call Muhammad Yunus.

PPS Biden? My husband is pleased.


T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

sorry for the long silence, brd - i want you to know i have been reading your blog and i continue to find it totally fabulous.

also, speaking of blogs, i think the paterson project might be getting back on track - a new poem is up today, and the music end of the project is gearing up very, very nicely - conversely, gaston and i have a legitimate band going, and as soon as we get solid recordings of what we have been working on, we'll be sure to share.

that is, unless we make it big-time, of course. then it'll cost ya.

hope all is well, and i miss the zorro posts.

-T. Az.

T. Azimuth Schwitters said...

thank you for your kind words over at the p.p. - and i can't believe you're going to paterson! take lots of pictures and, yes, write as many poems as you can. oh, and send everything to us!

brd said...

OK. It's a deal. I'll write a Paterson poem for you, punctuated with pictures from a Paterson wedding!

brd said...

PS I got some weird pictures of the Zorro kids the other night. It's not the same though.