World AIDS Day
One of the saddest aspects of modern life is that modern advance-society people and their news media tend to get bored with ongoing challenges that lose novelty.
That's definitely the case with the global AIDS crisis.
Yes, the AIDS crisis in America has abated somewhat, but it's still with us.
Yes, the AIDS crisis in Asia has yet to gain headlines, but it will.
And yes, the AIDS crisis in Africa is old news by now, but it continues to represent the most massive humanitarian disaster in a continent already beset by disasters beyond measure.
Many of us outside Africa have learned to beat our breasts about our failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda, and a few of us are agitated about the ongoing quasi-genocide in Darfur, and that's all good. But the death toll, actual and potential, from AIDS in Africa makes every man-made contribution to the Grim Reaper's work pale by comparison.
There are things we can do to succor the dying and suffering, to limit future deaths, and to take care of the vast number of orphans AIDS is producing. And taking those steps, particularly in terms of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, should be divorced from the broader argument over conditional or unconditional assistance to African regimes.
It's sad that "awareness" remains the primary goal of AIDS advocates on this World AIDS Day. But that's where we are, and any American who professes fidelity to a compassionate view of human morality, based on religion or any other system, should manifest this awareness in a serious effort to demand action and save lives. --