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U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2019
· Bono's Madrid setlist, 28/11/22
· Bono's Paris setlist, 25/11/22
· Bono's Berlin setlist, 23/11/22
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· Bono's Los Angeles setlist, 13/11/22
· Bono's San Francisco setlist, 12/11/22
· Bono's Nashville setlist, 09/11/22


Bono: Appeal to America's greatness to aid Africa

Posted on Tuesday, September 16 @ 07:56:39 CEST by Macphisto

(USA Today) -- Rock star Bono, lead singer of the Irish group U2, knows what buttons turn up the volume. He'll be pressing them all this week as he tries to make Washington politicians meet promised funding levels for the fight against AIDS in Africa. Since 1998, Bono also has used his fame to focus attention on Third World debt and global trade. He spoke Monday to USA TODAY's editorial board about his admiration of Americans and his quest to enlist their help. His remarks were edited for length and clarity:

Q: What has your experience as a rock star taught you about dealing with Congress and the White House?

A: Politicians aren't afraid of rock stars and student activists they're afraid of churchgoers and soccer moms. They're really interested in you if you're a rock star and activist hanging out with soccer moms and church moms. Celebrity is a bit ridiculous, we all know that, but it's currency. And I'm spending mine here. You've got to use what you've got, and the most important thing we've got is an unstoppable argument: AIDS metastasizes as a problem. It's actually much cheaper to deal with it quickly. People will die in the tens of thousands for lack of $1 billion. Now, they want $87 billion for two countries, Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites). How about $1 billion extra for an entire continent? I don't think that's too much to ask this week. It all feeds into the same thing anyway, which is the way the world sees America. (Related video : Bono on Africa's strategic value)

Q: How does that worldview affect your strategy?

A: We're trying to appeal to the greatness of America. In fact, Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said to me, 'Don't appeal to the conscience of America. Appeal to the greatness of America and you'll get the job done.' I agree with him. This is a moment when people really want to believe in their country. They really want the moral high ground. I think it's appealing to the greatness rather than the conscience. Although, the conscience has to be pricked.

Q: Is America in fact 'great'?

A: We did this tour of the Midwest called the 'Heart of America' tour. We went to high schools and truck stops and churches. As an observer, as a fan of this country, I was amazed to see how people feel more American the more they get into these issues. America is not just a country; it's an idea. It's like it's hardwired into America: the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence. Actually, before the tour, I read all that stuff. I often feel like one of those annoying fans who reads the liner notes of the CD and knows everything about the artist.

Q: How did the heart of the United States respond to your message of debt forgiveness and access to U.S. agricultural markets? That must run counter to the perceived interests of a lot of those in your audience.

A: I love the Midwest. I used to love it playing in the band, in the blue bus. It's really an amazing country, beautiful just to look out the window at. And I find that the people are really straight-up: 'You're taking our jobs, are you? Is that what this is about?' But Teamsters, union people we met along the way, were saying, 'We know that there's a problem of a scale that needs an enormous response from us. And we're ready.' There was a giant of a man sitting in a truck stop, tattoos over his eye, and he said, 'If you need anyone to drive, I'm available.' We need people like that.

Q: What about anti-American views?

A: Americans are very patriotic, and they were very, very shocked at 9/11 not just the attack on America but the aftershock of watching some people celebrate when the twin towers turned to dust. Americans at that moment just went, 'How did this happen? How on earth did the country that liberated Europe not just liberated Europe but rebuilt it with the Marshall plan how did this happen?' There's no fair answer to that kind of question. There are evil-minded people everywhere. But we can certainly shut off their oxygen. The AIDS emergency offers a chance to America and Europe to show what we're really about. These groups fighting AIDS are great advertisements for the best of what we do, our technology, our creativity, our innovation.

Q: AIDS funding in Africa will help us in our fight against terrorism?

A: If the United States is a brand and all countries in a certain way are brands when was the brand of the USA the most sparkling? The answer is, of course, after the second World War. My father looked to America like Ireland was a part of it; he was so proud. Europeans were. That was after the Marshall Plan, which was not just about liberating Europe, of course, but about rebuilding Europe. Again, not just out of mercy, but as a bulwark against the Soviets in the Cold War. Well, this is a bulwark against Islamic extremism in the hot war. They are analogous.

Q: You say you have an unstoppable argument for fighting the global AIDS emergency, yet you're having trouble getting it fully funded.

A: I actually do think we're going to sort this out this week. We should give applause then to the politicians who did it. We don't want to be part of any political party; I've had to become apolitical to do this job. Now, not only am I a rock star, but I'm Irish, so that's really hard. We're saying to both parties, 'Please do not play politics with these people's lives in an election year. Please, can this be the one thing you all agree on?' In an election year, I think this actually brings out the best. All the other issues are contentious the war, the economy. This is something America can really be proud of. It brings people right back to the whole idea of America: It's not just a country. It's an idea.

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