Why Opt Global?

 Photo: Matthew Gonzalez. Rancho Palos Verdes, United States

Photo: Matthew Gonzalez. Rancho Palos Verdes, United States

When key issues exist within the US, can we justify focusing outside our borders? What if looking outward was, in fact, crucial to solving problems at home?

Over the last year, the importance of focusing on the United States has been a message we’ve heard loud and clear. It has functioned practically as a declaration -  to examine our priorities and opt for national focus. Our need to be greater, stronger, and to turn our attention upon the US for a change.

In many ways, this makes sense. It would seem to violate common wisdom to only look at others without paying attention to our own well-being and health. What if, however, it was both/and, instead of either/or? What if spending money on programs abroad meant a stronger, safer United States? Would it be worth it? In his recent explanation of the domestic benefits of US Foreign Aid, Bill Gates pointed out:

Protecting Americans, preventing epidemics, strengthening markets, saving lives: aid delivers phenomenal benefits, and for a bargain. It represents less than 1 percent of the federal budget, not even a penny out of every dollar. It is some of the best return on investment anywhere in government. This money is well spent, it has an enormous impact, and it ought to be maintained.

Many Americans are prompted to extend help to people regardless of their homeland due to motivations by a faith tradition. These traditions emphasize inclusion of the alien, care for the inflicted and solidarity with those on the outside of provision.  Is this responsibility to include, care and stand up for only meant for those who share our national citizenship? For people of faith, the relationship to the poor arrives closer to “brother and sister” than merely a responsibility, making people around the world part of an extended family. 

Will we opt to solely focus our attention on those within our borders, or will we opt global, and see our family to include the hurting, the sick and the afflicted around the world, ultimately strengthening own own great nation in the process?

 

michael verdine