Sunday, May 28, 2017

the last book I ever read (David Talbot's Season of the Witch, excerpt fourteen)

from Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot:

If Dianne Feinstein was the best possible local leader in the war on AIDS, Ronald Reagan was the most disastrous leader for the country to have sitting in the Oval Office. The demon virus took root in the population at the worst possible moment. “The AIDS story is the purest illustration of how this administration deals with health concerns,” said Stanley Matek, former president of the American Public Health Association, during the height of the plague. “They tend to see health in the same way that John Calvin saw wealth: it’s your own responsibility, and you should damn well take care of yourself. This epidemic, however, has tested the limits of that philosophy.”

At a time when the American public desperately needed reliable medical straight talk about AIDS, Reagan blocked his widely respected surgeon general, Dr. C. Everett Koop, from delivering speeches or talking with the media about the disease. “For an astonishing five and a half years,” Koop recalled later, “I was completely cut off from AIDS.” White House advisors, he said, dismissed the epidemic as a problem for gays, junkies, and other social undesirables. The president’s aides, according to Koop, “took the stand, ‘They are only getting what they justly deserve.’”

No comments:

Post a Comment