Monday, December 01, 2008

Abstinence is a loaded word here in Washington, D.C.




Today is World AIDS Day (thus the humongous ribbon), and George (and Laura) Bush went to a forum on the subject, with Pastor Rick Warren.

WHAT GEORGE FELT: “I insisted upon measurable goals because I felt that lives needed to be saved. And if you don’t have measurable goals, lives might not be saved.”

AN ATTITUDINAL CHANGE: “But rather than being paternalistic about our help -- which basically says, we know better than you on how to achieve our goals -- we expect you to be a partner in achieving the goals. Which was an attitudinal change basically saying to African leaders, in this case, we trust you; we think you’ve got the capacity to be a good partner.” Unless you allow abortions, in which case no condoms for you. Oh, and you have to push abstinence-only education too. But other than that, we trust you, really we do.


IN MANY WAYS: “the interesting thing about people who are volunteering in Africa to save lives is they’re actually saving their own life, in many ways. They may not be saving it, but they’re certainly strengthening it.”

WHEN WE’RE A BETTER NATION: “We’re a better nation when we save lives.”

WHAT GEORGE WISHES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE COULD SEE: “And I wish the American people could see what we have seen after this PEPFAR initiative has kicked in and brought results. I mean, people literally lining the roads in Tanzania, all waving and anxious to express their love and appreciation to the American President who represents the American people.” Oh, and not dying, I guess that’s kinda important too, but really it’s all about the waving.

IN OTHER WORDS: “And it’s very important for America to be humble in our aid, in this sense. In other words, we can’t say, okay, we’re spending so much money, we demand this, or, we’re going to make you do this. And that will end up making us not liked.”


HEY PAL: “And you can look at that any way you want to look at it. One way to look at it is, hey, pal, you’ve got a lot of influence -- and you can use your influence for human liberty, for decency, and for justice all times, all places.”

LOADED: He said people who oppose his focus on abstinence “must not be results-oriented people. ... Look, I mean, abstinence is a loaded word here in Washington, D.C. ...” Um, yeah, loaded, about to go off at any second...

GRIEF-COUNSELOR-IN-CHIEF: “Remember when we went to the school in Rwanda? So these were children whose parents had died because of AIDS. And I just happened to walk by and said, ‘God is good.’ And without hesitation, they said, ‘All the time.’” MRS. BUSH: “And that was so sweet.” THE PRESIDENT: “And it was a very powerful, very sweet message.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “And so the first question that people ought to ask is, what’s the funding been like? In other words, funding equals commitment; sometimes it equals, you know, effective programming, but it -- at least the funding levels will give you a sense of how committed the country is.”

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