It started as a civil conference call with Senator Scott Brown’s Office. We of ACT UP Boston wanted to find out what the Senator was doing to end HIV/AIDS and if he would co-sponsor the Robin Hood Tax to assist in helping make that happen. We began the call by having some actual researchers explain some of their very hopeful cost/benefit data on treatment- as-prevention (TasP). They were the kind of studies that would gladden the heart of any liberal (“Implementing TasP will save millions and millions of lives”) or any fiscal conservative (“Implementing Tasp, over the long-term, will save billions and billions of dollars”). It was a win-win proposition about which we are still highly excited. Ten frustrating minutes of discussion then followed with the Brown staff making no firm commitments to support funding of policies that will likely end the AIDS pandemic: He just reiterated – ad nauseam – seemingly baseless reassurances of the Senator’s “good will.”
Then things went down hill faster than today’s Dow Jones Average. We were told that we should be “grateful” that we had an independent like Scott Brown who could cross party lines, if necessary. When we disputed that claim and pointed out coming fiscal-cliff, sequestration cuts and the suffering they would cause people with HIV at home and abroad, there was a prolonged, dead silence on the line. Brown’s office made no comment or any expression of concern for the twenty million human souls who will lose there lives unless some significant action is taken.
Instead we were told that in a pragmatic, “realistic”, political world, Scott Brown’s opportunistic “middle of the world” positioning are what is needed and that we should feel grateful for his political sleight of hand.
Uh, no thanks…