“Nelson Mandela is really impressive,” The Dalai Lama replied. “Then, as an individual person, I love President Bush, the younger one — as a human being, not as a President of America. Sometimes his policies may not be very successful, but as a person, as a human being, very nice person. I love him.”
A photo I saw last week in The Dallas Morning News reminded me of what The Dalai Lama said. In the picture, Bush is in Africa, playfully meeting foreheads with a baby in Tanzania. It’s one of those can’t-help-but-smile-when-you-look-at-it pictures.
“AIDS was an inferno burning through sub-Saharan Africa,” reads the story. “The American people, led by Bush, checked that fire and saved millions of lives.”
Bush said that he got involved in the issue for one simple reason: he believed it was the right thing to do.
“I didn’t want to look back at a presidency that did nothing about a pandemic that was destroying a generation,” he said. “When I got into office, the devastation was becoming so real that to have done nothing about it as president of the wealthiest nation would have been immoral.”
Our lives are full of decisions. Some are obvious, many are divisive. There is almost always someone who will disagree with you. If those people are the ones closest to you, sometimes it hurts.
But often the most regrettable decisions we make are the ones where we ignore our instincts, what we know to be right.
When we silence that small voice by shouting “this is what I (or everyone else) think I should/need/want to do!”
Giving foreign aid, for example, is divisive. The story said there were several people who advised Bush that the AIDS epidemic couldn’t be improved in Africa.
He didn’t listen.
When it comes to Africa, he did (and is still doing) what he thought was right. That’s really all we can ask of anyone.
I received a card when I graduated from high school with a verse on it that has stuck with me since, Isaiah 30:21.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
To hear — and heed — that voice is one of my greatest hopes.