In just a few days, Invisible Children’s mini-movie, “Kony 2012,” has racked up over 20 million views. First-world solutions meet third world problems. The movie and movement seek to make Kony so “famous” that citizens will demand their governments take action to arrest Kony, in the hopes that he can be tried before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
More practically, Invisible Children successfully lobbied for an American military presence in Uganda and created an early warning radio system to notify Africans of impending attacks by the LRA. Social networking has become social action, with real results. The mustard seed of faith and the mouse click are powerful tools, when wielded properly.
What these success stories reveal is what works. Homeboy and Invisible Children both rely and thrive on the potent mixture of faith, charity and entrepreneurism. Faith informs their mission, charity sustains their efforts, and entrepreneurism has made them tangible and dynamic. Both have a creativity, ingenuity, and penchant for risk-taking born of a conviction to work for moral change and, equally important, freedom from government. Pay attention, Mr. President.
No one at the Department of Health and Human Services or the State Department controls these organizations. No one from government dictates their mission or the means by which they change lives. This is how the private sector can work to address systemic problems in ways government never could.
As the election approaches, the takeaway is clear. America needs a president who champions policies that help the faithful, and removes government obstacles to their programs. The current president does neither. For the sake of Homeboy Industries, Invisible Children, and the thousands of similarly situated groups, this November’s election cannot come soon enough.