Editorial: Bushs’ efforts put spotlight on AIDS issue

Before the moment passes, we join others in extending our appreciation for former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura's ongoing support for efforts to break the deadly AIDS epidemic threatening Africa.

Thank you, President and Mrs. Bush.

The former first couple spent a week earlier this month in Zambia helping to build a facility to treat women's cancers, which hit HIV-positive women especially hard. We saw pictures of a very fit-looking Bush, in T-shirt and jeans, hauling construction materials to build the new facility.

Critics will say this was little more than a photo op, and that may be true at a certain level. But such a gesture is also important and beneficial to the daunting cause of bringing AIDS under control in some of the world's most remote and medically underserved regions.

The spotlight of attention brought by the presence of a former American president and his wife brings a priceless focus to the problem and those most affected by this manageable plague, including untold numbers of children. It is worth its weight in hammers, nails, construction materials, drugs, doctors and medical technicians — because that is the harvest of interest and good will it will yield.

The Bushes' post-presidential efforts remind us of the important work George W. Bush did on behalf of the AIDS-in-Africa cause during his time in the Oval Office. Even his harshest critics acknowledge the breadth and effectiveness of this effort that benefits those who do not cast a single vote, Republican or Democratic.

It was an act of compassion and human kindness, offered with no expectation of payback — monetary, political or otherwise.

The world could use more of it.

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