Alex Blaze

Party like it's 1989: HIV/AIDS activists hold die-in

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 23, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living

Obviously everyone needs to pull together and make some sacrifices in these difficult times. Surely we can't expect the execs at British Petroleum to give up their weekends yachting or for failed finance-sector firms to give up their bonuses, but these folks could stand to eat some cake for the greater economic good of the country:

speakerpelosiprotest.jpgScores of AIDS advocates participated in a protest and "die-in" hosted by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), on Tuesday, July 20th at 9:30 AM outside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco office to descry the Speaker's inaction on the current AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) crisis. Carrying banners and handmade signs with the message: "Speaker Pelosi, solve the AIDS drug crisis NOW!" and "Pelosi, please act as if lives depend on it - they do!" protestors wore skeleton masks, dressed in all-black, and carried a 4 ft. X 2 ½ ft. coffin in memory of those who have died of AIDS while on ADAP waitlists. In May, a person on an ADAP waitlist in South Carolina died.

Immediately following the protest, advocates visited Speaker Pelosi's office to ask for a meeting with staff members about the issue. Additionally, the group delivered 428 letters from individuals across the nation which call for Speaker Pelosi to act now to end the AIDS drug crisis.

At least they're not taking it sitting down.

Part of what makes the recent calls for austerity and "fiscal conservatism" so despair-inducing is not just how unfair and illogical they are, but how many people accept them as normal and necessary. They're willing to give up their retirement and work until they die because of an abstract, unfounded fear of deficits.

Shockingly, to anyone with a conscience, Congress and many states have decided that necessary medication for people living with HIV is the place to make budget cuts, which is the sort of thing people are going to fight against. They're not asking Americans to sacrifice their own quality of life, something working class Americans are generally willing to do since we believe pleasure has no value and that our suffering naturally makes the world a better place, but for some of them to actually sacrifice their lives. And no matter what you teach a group of people about the way the world works, if you introduce the fear of death they suddenly start seeing things more clearly.

So here we have a die-in at a Congresswoman's office. A die-in. Didn't someone famously declare the end of the AIDS crisis in 1996? It looks like humans have an incredible capacity for backslide and not much long-term memory.

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