One day after vanquishing the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers superstar Aaron Rodgers came to Madison not to talk football, but to rally the students for human rights.
My daughter was there, just a couple of feet away, as he entered the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union. She saw him ask a couple of college women where they were going, and when they said the library, he urged them to come to the rally for the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, outside on the union terrace, where more than 1,000 students waited to see the quarterback.
Rodgers talked about his own epiphany after winning the Super Bowl in 2011.
"We just accomplished the most amazing goal in football," he said. "But I'm sitting here with this semi-empty feeling because I had just accomplished everything I wanted to do when I was a kid. I kind of had this moment where I said to myself, 'Is this it? Is there more to life than this?' And the answer was resoundingly yes."
That yes had to do with drawing attention to Western consumer complicity in the wars in the Congo. Many of our cell phones are made of minerals from the Congo, and when Rodgers found out about that, he was taken aback.
"That was kind of my 'enough' moment," he told the crowd. "A device that I take everywhere with me. It's my lifeline to my friends, to my Candy Crush, to my Twitter account during the offseason. This is the lifeblood of these warlords who are doing some incredible atrocities half a world away," he said.
As The Wisconsin State Journal reported, he urged "students to help make UW-Madison the first conflict-free school in the Big Ten conference."
More than a dozen other universities have done so, led by Clark University (where my daughter played a role in the successful campaign).
"You can have an impact in a tangible way," Rodgers told the crowd, according to the State Journal. "Something that you touch every single day, that's your lifeline. ... We can say to those tech companies and those people, 'We want to live in a world where our electronics do not fund rape and war.'"
Photo: Flickr user Dave Sizer, creative commons licensed.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the Senior editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Here's How the Republican Nonsense Will End.
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