November #107 : Vote '04-Who Ya For? - by Doug Ireland

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Table of Contents

Vote '04-Who’s better for people with HIV?

Vote '04-We Have Issues

Vote '04-4 More Years?!?

Vote '04-Who Ya For?

Vote '04-Full-Frontal Election

Vote '04-Hot Seats

1,2,3...ENTRY!

Back to School

When Life Hands You Lemons...

One Hot Tomato

Microbicide Update

Sayonara, Suckers

Waiting to Exhale

Pos & Neg

Fit to Print

Website of the Month

Milestones

Meet Your Host

Briefs

In Stores-and In Store

Brush With Nausea

Rebel With a Cause

A Woman’s Guide to Living With HIV Infection

Those Other Pills

Marijuana Mama

Found a cure

Founder's Letter

Mailbox

Senior Class

Earthwatch

Inside Story



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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November 2004

Vote '04-Who Ya For?

by Doug Ireland

POZ pundit Doug Ireland cuts to the race chase. Plus, a poll of eight pull-no-punches HIVers-including Bob Hattoy and Mary Fishers, stars of '92 conventions, when AIDS was the issue

The renewal of George W. Bush’s four-year lease on the White House would be a disaster not only for HIVers but for American democracy. It would canonize corporate money as the deciding factor in our politics, sanctify greed and obscurantism as the standards governing public-health policy and offer the Supreme Court on a platter to nominees who would shred our constitutional protections of privacy and civil rights. Unbridled war profiteers would continue to determine the priorities for spending our nation’s treasure, with public welfare subordinated to the blinkered imperatives of the national security state. What’s more, Bush’s humongous deficits—and his tax cuts—would guarantee an unending downsizing of the social safety net. Bush has played politics with the lives of PWAs, taking credit for a global AIDS initiative while handing the paltry sums actually released to religious conservatives who oppose condoms. In this polluted climate, any hopes for a significant, serious and rational fight against the AIDS pandemic here and abroad would be stillborn.

John Kerry has a strong, proactive record on AIDS issues from his Senate service. Even so, it would be folly to expect a Kerry administration to commandeer much more money for the AIDS pipeline without tremendous public pressure. Why? Kerry’s commitment to a sharply increased military budget and more troops overall combined with his insistence on more tax cuts and a no-new-taxes pledge mean a continued emptying of the national treasury—and, inevitably, a fierce competition over the remaining funds. Although Kerry has made a raft of promises to the AIDS community, he will be hard-pressed to find the money to pay for them.

In addition, focusing only on the presidential race is an error. Any rollback of the recent hydra-headed depredations on the AIDS community is unlikely in a Republican Congress. Democrats have almost no chance of taking back the Congress in November (for the congressional races most vital to HIVers, see “Hot Seats,” next page). Not until congressional control is wrested from the Republicans will new AIDS initiatives have a realistic chance for success. That’s why electoral politics cannot be a once-every-four-years exercise for HIVers. It must be a year-round task that builds alliances with the larger progressive coalition to work for a sea change in Congress and in our country’s approach to health care. We can start by evicting the primitive religious demagogue who inhabits the White House. I do not expect much more from a Kerry administration than an end to assaults on the Constitution, science and queers. But that is more than enough to urgently command a vote against Bush.


Concepcion Velazquez
48
Leonminster, MA

Occupation: On disability
Registered: Independent
Prez pick in ’00: Gore
Prez pick in ’04: Bush

“I don’t agree with Kerry—he supports women having abortions, and I’m against that. I don’t like Bush’s policies on AIDS because he has cut so many programs, but if he puts back what he cut, we’ll be OK.”

Jesus Guillen
44
San Francisco

Occupation: Singer/songwriter
Registered: Independent
Prez pick in ’00: Gore
Prez pick in ’04: Kerry

“Bush believes he is a messenger of God and is responding to his own beliefs—not the needs of the American people. What he has done for AIDS is absurd. We have to give an opportunity to someone else, and Kerry deserves it.”

Danielle Kilcup
25
Washington, DC

Occupation: National Association of People With AIDS outreach coordinator
Registered: Independent
Prez pick in ’00: Gore. “But I’m not sure my vote was counted!”
Prez pick in ’04: “Right now, I’m undecided. But I’ll be voting for whichever candidate shows he is willing to politically and financially support the fight against the spread of HIV and for the treatment of those currently living with this terrible disease.”

Lora Tucker
44
Queens, NY

Occupation: Bowery Residents’ Committee women’s services coordinator
Registered: Democrat
Prez pick in ’00: Gore
Prez pick in ’04: “I’m not sure. I don’t know enough about Kerry and what he is going to offer, but Bush hasn’t done enough. I don’t think he’s very compassionate. I’m an African-American, and I want my vote to count. ”

Gregory Huang-Cruz
38
Brooklyn, NY

Occupation: HIV and health education training specialist
Registered: Republican Prez pick in ’00: None
Prez pick in ’04: Kerry

“We need to restore science to HIV prevention and provide adequate, affordable, universal health care for HIVers. Replacing George Bush with John Kerry is the first step.”

Brian DiCrocco
36
San Francisco

Occupation: On disability
Registered: Republican
Prez pick in ’00: Gore
Prez pick in ’04: Bush

“I am voting for Bush primarily because Bush is a person of faith. I think that he has done a good job on AIDS support to Africa. I think domestic funding for AIDS will rise as the economy improves.”

Heroes of Election '92

Bob Hattoy
52
Los Angeles
Occupation: Former Clinton White House adviser
Registered: Democrat
Prez pick in ’00: Gore
Prez pick in ’04: Kerry

“George Bush is a war criminal when it comes to AIDS. His abstinence-only policy is a weapon of mass destruction against the people of the United States. It’s going to infect more people and cause more deaths than anything that’s happened in Iraq.

Kerry’s campaign hasn’t talked about AIDS, which worries me, because when you don’t talk about AIDS, it means you don’t talk about racism, homophobia, homelessness, substance abuse, prescription drugs or pharmaceutical companies. So the silence is unsettling. But I know that John Kerry is good on these issues.

Voting is like medicine. Not voting is like not taking our meds—it would be suicide.”

Mary Fisher
56
West Palm Beach, FL
Occupation: author, artist
Registered: Republican
Prez pick in ’00: I never tell.
Prez pick in ’04: I still never tell.

“The AIDS community has found nearly every way possible to immobilize its value politically. If once we were a potent, vibrant, noisy force, it now appears that our clout came less from AIDS than from the fact that we were culturally unified: We were mostly a gay and angry group. But as we have grown more diverse—sexually, economically, ethnically and politically—we’ve also become more marginalized.

What is, in fact, stunting our influence is our own refusal to break out of stereotypes and compel both major parties to take us seriously. If one party assumes they have us and one party assumes they can’t get us, neither party is going to hear our concerns and respond with passion and policies. They are both being let off the hook.”




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