Still undecided on the eve of this momentous occasion? Well we can't tell you who to vote for, but you can check out this great comparision that One Vote did that hightlights their positions on poverty-related issues.
So far I have been hesitant to blog about the presidential elections for fear of seeming biased. But I do think that there is something that everyone should realize before they vote tomorrow--the enormous possibilities and risks of the elections.
If you look at the comparisons, you will notice that both candidates are saying pretty lofty things about fighting malaria, HIV, TB; providing primary education for every child; ending hunger; and more. Because of these strong stances, there is tremendous opportunity for true progress in ending extreme global poverty. However, recent comments by both candidates also point to the risk that virtually no progress will be made by either candidate. John McCain has said repeatedly that he would institute a one-year spending freeze. And Barack Obama said that due to the global economic problems, he will have to delay his proposed doubling of foreign assistance.
The fact is global poverty isn't one of the top 20 or so issues listed on either candidate's homepage.
The fact is 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day). (Stats from Globalissues.org.)
The fact is we aren't going to make a big difference in changing these numbers by freezing the level of spending for a year or by delaying doubling foreign assistance. WE HAVE TO ACT. NOW. And the truth is, no matter who wins tomorrow, we are going to have to work really hard to encourage them to act on their words and actually do something about global poverty.
Working to end global poverty might not be a priority for Barack Obama or John McCain, but it is for them. And it should be for us. Now is our time to make it a priority for our leaders.
Vote. Then encourage tomorrow's winners to invest in the future, by working to end global poverty.