Clinton, Reagan, AIDS, and Hell

I saw this revisionist history on MSNBC:

Hillary Clinton: The Reagans, particularly Nancy, helped start “a national conversation” about HIV and AIDS. [link]

Given the fact that at the time of the Reagans’ reign, the majority of those dying from AIDS were minority women, and that major activist groups split along racial lines in order not to deal with this reality, this was a stupefyingly obscene thing to say. It brought to mind a prose poem I wrote on June 5, 2004 when Ronald Reagan died:

A eulogy for Ronald Reagan: May he rot in hell

I would like to believe in Hell, I would like to believe in a place of endless suffering, a place of harrowing pain and punishment. And I would like this Hell to be like an empty ocean bed, its waters gone, its seas dispersed, its dry expanse unfathomably unfillable; and in the middle of this vast emptiness I would put him, the so-called former president, the so-called former leader of the free world, the so-called Great Communicator: Ronald Wilson Reagan. And I would decree a punishment: He must pay his way, he must rent his place, he must provide for his stay in this, his Hell; and I would charge him in tears, and the tears would be numbered, and the tears would be counted: One tear for each person who has died of AIDS; one tear each for the tens of thousands who died while he did nothing, while they laughed and joked in his press conferences, in his back rooms; one tear for Richard; one tear for Jeffrey; one tear for Phillipe; one tear for Todd; one tear each for all and all who have died since; one tear each for all and all who are dying now; one tear for every tear cried for them, for every cry torn from a heart broken; one tear for every activist gathering that mentioned his name, one tear for every announcement of who wasn’t there that week; one tear for every tear then shed ten-fold, one tear for every pointed finger, for every cry of “SHAME!”, for every die-in; one tear for every action, one tear for every act of kindness, one tear for every labor borne by a grieving world during that time, a world too busy caring for its dying, too busy burying its dead to grieve. And I would fill his ears with a great wind, and this wind would be the ultimate sum of the cries of the dying, and the anguished, and the murdered, and the disappeared; the bellowing anger of those displaced, and put aside, and shrugged off; the victims of every thug, every dictator, of every apartheid leader he embraced, of every criminal he supported against humanity, like a thousand thousand locomotives it would roar in his ears at full pitch at all times without stop. And I would give him an out, I would, like his God, provide an end to his penance: Should he fill up his ocean, should he shed enough tears to bring the seas back, should he cry long enough to allow the waters to wash up again on parched shores he would find redemption; I would hold out this hope of redemption to him, I would give him this hope, this end, to his interminable torment. And I would watch, and I would wait, and I would wish upon him the soul-wrenching agony of seeing his tears evaporate before hitting the hot ground, of looking at his tears blow away in the vengeful wind, of witnessing his tears shed for naught, tears falling pointlessly, hopelessly, endlessly on the ever-thirsty, never-sated ground; disappearing in the ever-blowing, never-ending wind: Tear, upon tear, upon tear. And I would tie his tongue; and I would allow him no screaming.


About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
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