And, so … the good American mothers whose corpulent girths are well-earned from good lives lived caring for their men and their broods (Do you see the children now? Right now? Sucking their thumbs and clinging to the bottom hems of red or white or blue down-filled parkas which their mommies wear over Middle American broad shoulders and big breasts?); the good mothers with curlers in their hair and carrying homemade placards (“Johnny, where’s the green magic marker for Christsake!”), which are thrust in front and above their pin-curled heads housing brains which got them out of high school and into the sack; oh, the good mothers shout, “NO AIDS … NO AIDS …,” as they follow one another in a little circle (their broods a-wagging behind them), upon the sidewalks of Anytown, U.S.A. Ah, yes, and I wonder — a knowing twinkle in my eye — after counting the kids clutching the moms, which one of you ten precious pups will become the scourge your mommy now fears, ‘cause if I’m not mistaken, buckaroos, your mommies ain’t half as afraid of AIDS as they are of queers.
My short story was surely inspired by the trials of a thirteen-year-old boy named Ryan White, a hemophiliac, who, in 1984 was infected with the HIV virus via a blood transfusion. Ryan was expelled from his school in Russiaville, Indiana because the good mothers and fathers of the other children feared their wards would surely succumb to the scourge that had infected Ryan. Indeed, did not the good mothers and fathers believe that Ryan’s breath, his touch, perhaps even his smile might spread the virus to their innocents? And, indeed, did not the good mothers and fathers believe that Ryan–thirteen at the time–was surely queer? How else could Ryan have become infected?
Now, some little rage attached to Mike Huckabee’s explanation (from the AP) why he, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1992, espoused the following:
“If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate [read: quarantine] the carriers of this plague.
It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.”
When asked about his stance on AIDS in 1992, Huckabee “The Divine Huckster,” said, “We now know that the virus that causes AIDS is spread differently, with a lower level of contact than with TB. But, looking back almost 20 years, my concern was the uncertain risk to the general population -if we got it wrong, many people would die needlessly. My concern was safety first, political correctness last.”
On FOX news, Sunday, the Huckster refused to back-off from his views articulated fifteen years ago. Again from the AP, the Huckster , “…cited revelations in 1991 that a dentist had infected a patient…” The story continues with the Huckster noting: “I still believe this today. We were acting more out of political correctness [in 1992]…” with regard to how the U.S. dealt with the AIDS crisis. “I don’t run from it; I don’t recant it,” the Huckster added.
In 1992, the Huckster characterized homosexuality as, “…an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle.”
Eight years prior to the Huckster’s demagoguery of 1992, the saga of Ryan White began to be played out. By 1990, Ryan would be dead at the age of eighteen. But, not without providing this country with a story, a struggle, a noble short life that lives today surely as the essential response to Mike Huckabee’s theocratic duplicity; to Mike Huckabee’s unwavering teat-suck upon the basest right-wing, God, Guns and Guts cesspool of neocon mongers who gave us George W. Bush.
By 1992–when the Huckster, a glutinous behemoth who weighed in at probably close to 300 pounds (Can I have an AMEN! for the seven deadly sins!)–it was well-known that AIDS was not spread by casual contact. Indeed, it had been six years, 1986, since C. Everett Koop, the nation’s Surgeon General, issued what is commonly referred to as the “AIDS Report,” which, in explicit terms examined the cause, modes of transmission, risk factors and the manner in which people could protect themselves from the scourge, including the use of condoms. Yet, the Arkansas Huckster, continued to play to the crowd of his base who–as we know today–would never tire of the condemnation, abhorrence, fear of the Homa-sex-yalls amongst them; that comfortable bugaboo that had fueled (still does!), the passions of those washed in Jesus ‘ blood whose Christianity espoused an unequal separation, a quarantine, a setting-aside of the dignity of queers in God’s name. Never mind the promise of the Constitution. God’s law trumped all.
So, brothers and sisters, can a I get an AMEN! Can I get some modicum of understanding that what is going on in American politics is very, very dangerous? Can I get some little affirmation that the swan song of the Right encapsulates the essential message that the Constitution, like the Bible, came from God and not from the intellect of men who forsook theocracy for democracy? Can I get some little acknowledgment that while ol’ Mike Huckabee may shine divine in Iowa, the core of this troubled, tainted but still robust democracy will, eventually, kick his fat ass back to his accommodating pulpit in Arkansas where he belongs?
Oprah and Obama. Hillary and Bill. Yeah, the other side of the coin. Don’t have the energy right now to opine on the carnival hoopla of those square dances; those allemande lefts that scare the bejesus out of me as intensely as that of Huckabee and Romney.
P.S. The Huckster’s view of women from this morning’s AlternterNet:
“In August of 1998, Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full page USA Today Ad which declared: “I affirm the statement on the family issued by the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention.” What was in the family statement from the SBC? “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”
The ad wasn’t just a blanket, “we support the SBC statement,” but rather highlighted details. The ad Huckabee signed specifically said of the SBC family statement: “You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband’s sacrificial leadership.”
Ryan White’s mother responds to the Huckster here.