A "Dole" Drubbing - A Resounding NO To "Senator No" genre: Gaylingual & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

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For years, Jesse Helms blocked measures intended to provide care and assistance to homosexuals suffering from the ravages of HIV. In true Helms backasswards bravado, he often insinuated that the only way such legislation would pass would be over his dead body.

Surprise...it gets even better! Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole, in her infinite vacuity, thought it would be appropriate to rename the Presidents Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) after the recently departed 'Senator No'. Yes, Dole apparently felt that Helms' late-in-life epiphany...support for AIDS funding to assist Africa (no apology to America's gay community ever materialized)...should net Helms the posthumous honor.

Since Helms implied that gays would only receive government support over his dead body, there is a reason to celebrate the passage of PEPFAR. Simply stated, at long last, the dead bodies of thousands of gays can rest in peace knowing that PEPFAR was passed without being renamed after Jesse Helms...and it passed...poetically...over his dead body.

Now in my way of thinking, this entire situation is about accolades and assholery. When it comes to AIDS, Helms has no right to the former. Should there be any doubt, let's just say that's a big N-O. On the other hand, I think Senator's Helms and Dole are deserving of a resounding Y-E-S when it comes to confirming their effectiveness in exhibiting the latter.

All ranting aside, today the Senate passed PEPFAR by an overwhelming majority.

AIDS Action applauds the Senate for overwhelming, bipartisan passage of the Lantos/Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act (S 2731), which reauthorizes the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The organization particularly commends the lifting of the statutory requirement that bars travel and immigration to the U.S. by HIV positive non-citizens. Also noteworthy are the mention and recognition of HIV prevention, care and treatment needs of men who have sex with men (MSM) and the removal of the directive requiring that 33% of prevention funds be spent on "abstinence-only until marriage" programs.

"The lifting of the travel and immigration bar removes the blemish on the United States leadership on HIV and AIDS. We are especially pleased that this discriminatory law has finally been repealed."

AIDS Action urges prompt and timely final passage of the legislation and urges the President to sign the Lantos/Hyde bill.

Given Helms' endless efforts to scorn gays, the removal of the ban provides a measure of bittersweet reproach of Helms and the many others who sought to use HIV as a means to vilify the gay community. Fortunately, the decision to sit on their hands and ignore the deaths of thousands cannot be undone...not even by the mindless actions of Elizabeth Dole. Perhaps she'd be better served to practice legislative abstinence? On second thought, if it's as effective as the Bush administration's abstinence-only approach to HIV, I suspect Dole would end up in trouble in no time.

Tagged as: Abstinence, Africa, AIDS, Bigotry, Death, Elizabeth Dole, Gay, HIV, Jesse Helms, LGBT, PEPFAR

Daniel DiRito | July 16, 2008 | 7:15 PM
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Elizabeth Dole need a reality check. Her suggestion that PEPFAR legislation (HIV/AIDS Funding) be named after the late Jesse Helms is a mockery of the thousands of gay men who died from HIV while the likes of Jesse Helms sat on their hands and vilified... [Read More]

Tracked on July 16, 2008 9:32 PM


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