I have jsut registered to vote. Having become an American citizen a few weeks ago I delighted that at last I have a chance to express my opinion, small though it may be, in the American political system. However I am really struggling too. The cost of electing a president in America is enormous. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that candidates already raised half a billion dollars in 2007. By the time the election rolls around in November that figure will probably be well over a billion dollars. Obama and McCain will probably raise at least half a billion dollars each in their efforts to become president and maybe it is because at heart I am still a cynical Australian but I cannot imagine that either candidate will do much to help the poor when they are so beholden to the wealthy who have supported them.
What could we do with a billion dollars? Maybe as my friend Joy Cross suggests we could help end poverty and stop the deaths of 4,000 kids a day in the poorer nations of our world. Maybe we could do something to help the 45 million + people in the US that have no health care coverage and change the astounding fact that the US has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation. Or we could do something to provide jobs for the growing unemployed in the US – new figures today say that unemployment has risen to an all time high of 6.1% And maybe we could raise the minimum wage to a livable wage so that when those people get jobs they can actually afford to support themselves and their families. Or we could help rebuild the communities that are still struggling with the devastation of hurricane Katrina that has just been added to by the onslaught of Gustav.
What would you do with a billion dollars? And what I wonder would Jesus do with a billion dollars?