We need ‘We Are the World’ effort for today’s crises

Thank you for publishing Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker’s “For one brief musical moment, we were the world” in the Feb. 12, online Herald. She reviewed the “The Greatest Night in Pop” documentary on the recording session that convened 40 chart-topping artists who donated their time from rock and roll, country and western, jazz, pop, folk, blues, and soul music. “We Are the World” eventually raised $80 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the USA, but I was not surprised that 1.2 million Ethiopians died from starvation from 1983-85 due to the dire situation there.

Sadly, I can’t envision 40 similar chart topping artists today who could record a similar anthem to raise money for Americans dying deaths of despair, per award-winning Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton. Our world has also experienced many fatalities due to meticulously organized violence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia, and I can’t see that our so-called “leaders” will make any substantive progress to reduce these tragic deaths, too.

America is losing people daily from fentanyl overdoses, alcoholism, substance abuse disorder, loneliness, and these deaths disproportionately impact neighbors with low educational attainment (according to Case and Deaton). Based on our elected leaders’ responses to these problems, I don’t think we do not have the national will to reverse these trends.

Thanks for running Kathleen Parker’s column. It’s one of the reasons I value my print subscription to the Everett Herald.

Eric Steiner


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