Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Vote to End Hunger: A Look at the Party Platforms, Revisiting the Circle of Protection Videos

Now that the conventions are over and the nominees for the major parties have been decided, it's time to look at the party platforms and revisit the videos that the candidates for the two major parties made on behalf of the Circle of Protection during the primary season. (Also, if you or your congregation is looking for ways to become involved in the presidential and congressional campaigns, Bread for the World will offer several Vote to End Hunger webinars during August).

First, the party platforms (courtesy of ONE)

At their respective conventions, the parties finalized their platforms and each included several points that underscore the importance of smart investment in development and life-saving programs in the next four years.

"We know you don't have the time to read through all 121 pages, so we pulled together some highlights," said ONE.  "While there were definitely differences between the parties, they did agree on a few things (listed below)."
  • Democrats and Republicans are committed to strengthening partnerships with African countries;
  • Each party reaffirmed their support for global health programs like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR);
  • Republicans and Democrats agree that investment in smart foreign assistance is in our national interest;
  • Each party platform argues that development is a critical tool to our national security;
  • Both major parties stressed the importance of investing our aid dollars wisely.
To learn more about what each party had to say, read ONE's blog on the platforms.

The Videos
The candidates were asked to offer their vision for ending hunger through a video message.  All three Democrats and all but one of the Republicans created a video with their proposals. Here is a link to all the videos.

The Circle of Protection presented the videos without comment or endorsement, encouraging  church, college and seminary groups to view and discuss the messages. A study guide accompanied the videos.

While the Circle of Protection did not make any commentaries, I will add my two cents. In my humble opinion, there are two essential elements required in the effort to end hunger. The first one is to look at the big picture, especially considering all the causes that lead to hunger. The second is intentionality.  (Is that really a word?)  Another way to say this is to ask the question. Is ending hunger a priority for this candidate.?

I perused the videos of the candidates and the proposals from two Republicans,  Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, came closest to meeting my criteria.  Videos from Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton (the party's presidential nominee), Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley also met the criteria. The messages from Secretary Clinton and Sen. Sanders are also included in this blog post.

(Where is the Republican nominee's message, you ask? The Circle of Protection made repeated requests to Donald Trump's campaign for a video. There was no response from the Trump campaign). 

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