The Common Good

Well Done, President Bush

In recent weeks, we've been watching Senator Obama and Senator Clinton try to disagree honestly without being too nasty in the process. This week, we saw Senator McCain come to the defense of Senator Obama when a warm-up speaker stooped to some low political rhetoric. Maybe the stale air of partisanship and "gotcha" politics can be replaced by some clean, fresh cooperative air ... for a while at least?

In that spirit, I think we all - Democrats, Republicans, and others - should stop what we're doing to honor President Bush for his ongoing commitment to Africa. I think Bono recently summed up what many of us feel regarding our president's concern for AIDS treatment, malaria prevention, education, and multifaceted economic development:


President Bush has every reason to be proud of what he and so many others have accomplished in Africa. From AIDS treatment once thought impossible, to millions of bednets to keep kids from dying of a mosquito bite, to new African jobs created with trade policy, to billions in old debts erased. And back in Washington, a political shift has taken place with Democrats and Republicans working shoulder to shoulder to partner with people of Africa as they work to lift their continent out of poverty, putting 29 million children in school in the last five years, with the help of debt cancellation.


Some will quickly say that more could and should be done. Yes - in fact, you'll hear from one of those voices today on the blog. But we should also acknowledge that much less could have been done. We should celebrate whenever good and beautiful things happen in this world, and President Bush has done some good and beautiful things for Africa. Kudos to him, and to all members of Congress of both parties - and to all Americans who can feel good that a portion of our taxes are being invested in this way.

Bono added,


These are accomplishments the next president must build on. ... I hope that the next president, whoever that is, will get to experience firsthand this beautiful and entrepreneurial continent that is rising to all of the challenges being sent its way.


Let's also pause a minute to pray that our next president and Congress will continue and expand what's being done. The pain and need in Africa are so great that it will take governments, businesses, churches, NGO's, individuals, and intergovernmental agencies, all doing their best - assisted by the powers of heaven - to make substantial and ongoing progress. Thanks be to God for the good that has begun to be done. God bless Africa.

Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is board chair for Sojourners. He is in the middle of an eleven-city speaking tour you can learn about at deepshift.org.

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