Friday, September 9, 2011

I Am Caught Up!!!!!!

I have now read or listened to 68 books this year, which the little tracker at Goodreads assures me means that I am now on track for my goal to read 100 books this year.  I have been waiting 9 months to find out what it said when I was on track, rather than behind.

Whew!  Just in time, as I have plunged into a 600-pager called And The Band Played On about the AIDS epidemic when it first struck.  When I say that I really have not been able to put the thing down, you'll know that I am speaking metaphorically because the sucker weighs a ton, but it really is quite riveting.  Not just a story about AIDS, it's really about human nature--and I'm sure you've noticed by now that when we say that, it's never a good thing.  Greed, fear, prejudice, religious bigotry, ego, callousness--it's all there.  One of the most sickening parts is how early the CDC warned that the AIDS virus was in the blood supply, but because of economic reasons, the blood products industry and the FDA and the American Red Cross fought against testing or restricting donations.  The reason the CDC knew it was in the blood supply was because there were hemophiliacs dying of AIDS--it wasn't a guess.  People were dying, and money was still the most powerful consideration--not lives.  The AIDS epidemic couldn't have struck America at a worse time.  It started at the very beginning of Reagan's presidency, and while he was busily selling arms to Iran and training Osama bin Laden, destroying health programs throughout the US, stripping mental health funding and essentially creating the homeless problem in America, and ripping out the solar water heaters Jimmy Carter had installed in the White House just to be an environmental jackass, the AIDS virus was able to become an epidemic.  Had it struck someone popular, that would have been different, but Reagan was tied in with the Religious Right, and why would any of them care if gay people were dying?  By the time President Reagan delivered his first speech on the AIDS epidemic, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with the disease ad 20,849 had died.  I have never been able to understand why so many people consider Ronald Reagan a great president, but reading about his decimation of health spending in general, it does make me wonder if someone else had been president would there have been an AIDS epidemic at all, would 9-11 have even happened, would we now have cures for more diseases, would Global Warming be as much of an issue, would we have so much national debt, would scandals like Enron have happened, would the economy be more stable because the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" have been as wide without the Reagan-inspired era of greed-is-good have even happened, and would we still have a homeless problem?  The destruction one uncaring person can do in the world........................

5 comments:

Abby said...

Thank you for your synopsis of the Reagan years. After watching the GOP contenders debate the other night, I felt confused. Reagan was deified, which is NOT how I remember his presidency. Those who ignore the past....

Toni said...

Although considering what the Republicans have come up with as candidates recently, I guess I can understand their point. Compared to Palin, Bachmann, Perry, and Bush junior, Reagan does look pretty good...........

Viviana said...

I was reading Machiavelli's "The Prince" when Reagan was campaigning in 1980. I already didn't care for him because of his stance on women's rights (anyone remember the almost passed ERA?). But reading that book was like reading his campaign manual. (It's a pretty short read, Toni - you might want to consider it when you need a quick book to add to your count).

And you are so right about someone famous - when Rock Hudson couldn't hide it anymore, the predominant attitude finally began to change. But for every Rock Hudson there was a Liberace (maybe 2 or 3)...

pat said...

Toni, you are so right about Reagan and Aids. My son, Chris died of Aids because he had hemophilia. My husband was part of a group that sued the blood products company and NIH because of the non-testing of blood products, etc, and won!!!!!!!!!!!! After Chris died I couldn't fight or do anything. To say that the buck is almighty in this country,is it!!!!!!!!!!! People mouth about how they care about disease and people, but they don't really unless it hits their family. It has been over 20 years since Chris died and I am still angry at this country. It wasn't only gays who died of this disease! Reagan was the worst!!!!!! pat

Toni said...

Oh Pat, I am SO sorry to hear about your son! There is just no excuse for Reagan's behavior. I am very glad your husband and others sued and won--not that it makes any difference except to have found the NIH and the whole Reagan administration criminally negligent. I read last night that Congress had voted for something like $8 million to test the blood supply, and the Reagan administration STILL refused--leaving all but less than $500,000 in the treasury. Even if he was a homophobic jackass who wanted gays to die (which I think he was), I can't even understand why he wanted the rest of the population to die. I'm sorry he wasn't tried as a criminal. He certainly was one.

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