Barbara Bush Demonstrated Leadership, Compassion When Bringing Attention To AIDS Epidemic

Washington Post: Barbara Bush, a baby and breaking a shameful silence on AIDS
Jonathan Capehart, member of the Washington Post editorial board

“When the news alert of the passing of Barbara Bush hit my phone on Tuesday, my mind immediately went back to a 1989 photo of her cradling a baby. A grandmother holding an infant isn’t shocking. But when the grandmother was the new first lady and the child was suffering from AIDS, the photo spoke volumes. Not two months before Bush’s visit to an AIDS hospice in Washington, her husband, President George H.W. Bush, was inaugurated to succeed Ronald Reagan. The revered and loquacious Reagan was mute on the epidemic laying waste to gay men, African Americans, and other vulnerable populations. Barbara Bush broke that shameful silence with a hug and her voice. … In times of fear and national distress, the American people look to the president and the White House as much for leadership as for compassion. Bush demonstrated both with that visit. Don’t underestimate the power of her message or the example she set by doing something that was so controversial at the time. She saved lives that day by bringing attention to the ignored…” (4/18).

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