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Imagine if Obama laughed... - Elf M. Sternberg
Imagine if Obama laughed...
It's World AIDS Day, and to remind us of what life was like, Vanity Fair magazine posted a short movie with audio of Reagan-era White House Press Corp meetings, from several different occasions, during which conservative writer Lester Kinsolving asked Larry Speakes, Ronald Reagan's official press secretary, about AIDS. At first, Kinsolving is discussing hundreds, then thousands, and later tens of thousands of victims, all dying of what was then (and still is, without treatment) an absolutely horrific way to die. Speakes dismisses Kinsolving's questions with mockery and disinterest, and other members of the press corp laugh at Kinsolving for bringing up the subject again and again.

It's absolutely chilling to listen to our leaders at the time casually dismissing the deaths of tens of thousands of American men– and eventually women– because it's not something they have to worry about, since none of them were gay.

Ann Case and Angus Deaton are two Princeton professors who have collated mortality statistics for various populations in America, and have discovered something rather disturbing: while for most populations mortality and morbidity are in decline, there is one group for which death rates have actually risen: poor white people ages 45-54.

The causes of this rise are also fairly well documented: poor white people in that age group are killing themselves with drug overdoses, alcohol poisoning, outright suicide, and an uptick in diabetes-related morbidity.

The number of Americans who have died of these completely preventable causes is approaching 485,000 since 1996, which is quite near to the number of American deaths by AIDS between 1982 and 1995.

Imagine if something like this went down in the White House Press Corps:

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:
Someone in the back. RollingStone. Matt?
Matt Taibbi:
Mr. Gibbs, recently the media has been tracking a rise in deaths among poor, white Americans. They're the only group that has seen this rise. What, um, what reaction does President Obama have to this issue?
Why, Matt? Do you have a reason to worry?
No, I don't. But don't you think it's frightening that so many poor, white Americans are dying this way?
I'm not poor and white. The president sure isn't poor or white. [The rest of the press corps laughs.] This isn't our problem.
Do you think, maybe, the White House could put out a statement encouraging poor, white Americans to get better healthcare?
[Sighs audibly.] Matt, this isn't really a problem that the rest of America wants to deal with. Let's move on.

The right wing would throw an absolute shit-fit over something like this. And the sad fact is, the White House has done everything in its power to see to it that poor, white Americans can get health care. But poor, white America really would rather die than admit that universal healthcare could be a benefit.

The left is going to have to learn "pity fatigue" at this rate.

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

2 comments or Leave a comment
rfmcdpei From: rfmcdpei Date: December 3rd, 2015 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
elfs From: elfs Date: December 4th, 2015 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
The saddest part is you could do the same thing with President RubiTrumCruz and guns, and it would still make perfect sense.
2 comments or Leave a comment