Saint Reagan? Lest we forget…. 2/7/11

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan.  In the right’s increasing clamor to elevate Reagan to secular sainthood, it’s appropriate to remember that tens of thousands had died of AIDS before he would even mention the word.  The following transcript of a press briefing at the White House displays the Reagan Administration’s attitude about the “gay plague”.

Five years after that press briefing:
From ACT UP’s website:

1987 41,027 persons are dead and
71,176 persons diagnosed with AIDS in the US.

After years of negligent silence, President Ronald Reagan finally uses the word “AIDS” in public. He sided with his Education Secretary William Bennett and other conservatives who said the Government should not provide sex education information. (They are still saying it!)

On April 2, 1987, Reagan said: “How that information is used must be up to schools and parents, not government. But let’s be honest with ourselves, AIDS information can not be what some call ‘value neutral.’ After all, when it comes to preventing AIDS, don’t medicine and morality teach the same lessons.

Ronald Reagan is credited with many things, and extolled for his leadership skills.  In this case, he and his administration ignored a gathering storm, because they thought it only affected the gays.  How many could have been saved, had they began research sooner?

blog post photo

Reagan’s response to the “gay” plague.

Saint Ronnie?  I think not.

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