A Place for Cafe Refugees and Others Like Them

As a staunch advocate for the community afflicted with HIV, I took personal offense at Christine O’Donnell’s remark that we should not call HIV patients “victims”, excuse me? For one lady, you have no idea what it means to care about people, not judge them, and effectively prevent disease let alone promote health. I just love this pretend Christian righteous indignation and “ideas” about how to treat/prevent terrible diseases such as HIV using their religion when we have scientific proof at what does work. Anyone who thinks people will ascribe to celibacy is moronic, at best. We are beings that are programmed to procreate, we will mate even if that means we do not intend a pregnancy or that it is with someone who we can get pregnant. The thing about consciousness is our sexuality has morphed into something beyond just mating but we really cannot resist that urge that evolution has ingrained in us. You cannot go against biology, we have seen what celibacy does to the human psyche just look at the Catholic church, sorry but that is my interpretation. No one is “at fault” for contracting HIV, it is a terrible, horrible disease that destroys lives, communities, and frankly nations. The fault lies in the fact that prevention efforts have been thwarted by social Conservatives who believe their view on sexuality should trump others, even when it flies in the face of proven scientific facts. We know that comprehensive sex education makes a big difference in not only transmission of sexually transmitted infections but unintended pregnancies. Vancouver was known for its HIV epidemic due to IV drug use, they now have clinics that do needle exchanges and allows a safe place to use their own drugs, offering rehab when they are ready. I challenge Christine O’Donnell to meet the sex workers who have no choice but to use their bodies to feed themselves, the IV drug users who desperately want to stop but cannot, and the children who had no choice but to nurse from their mother’s breast therefore exposing them to the virus. Christine O’Donnell you make me sick!

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Comments on: "Christine O’Donnell: You Have Made a Personal Enemy Out of Me" (25)

  1. Not to contend that my list of HIV patients is exhaustive, in fact many hemophiliac patients who received blood products before the mid-90’s have been infected with HIV. I’m so sick of this patient population being demonized, it was infuriating to hear her speak with such disdain for fellow human beings. Would Jesus deny their health care? Would he refuse to treat them? Would Jesus judge them? I think that answer is plainly given in her bible. In fact the statement that “if you have done these things to the least of you, my brethren, you have done them unto me.” This includes bad things so Christine O’Donnell I submit to you; you are a hypocrite and are doing awful things not only to humanity but the god you claim. There are few people in the world that I would say I hate, people like you make it easy to expand that list.

  2. Somebody needs to ask her if she’ll take away cigarettes, cuz that would prevent lung disease?

    Seriously, we should get her to take a stand against cigarettes! Why not alcohol too? It ruins lives, families, and your health if you drink too much.

    Believe me, I am not taking these stands myself! But as far as I’m concerned, let’s get these crazies to take more and more extreme positions. Why be content with a ‘little crazy’ if we can make them parrot worse? The more extreme they look, the better I like it!

    Reporters, please step up to the plate here. Otherwise, just make it go viral that there’s a rumor that these folks will next be taking away your cigarettes, banning sex unless you have a license for it, and making church on Sunday mandatory!! Not only that, I suspect only certified church-goes will be able to vote, once the PURITY PARTY is in power!

    • Good idea. I’d like to see her public health credentials too while we are at it. Maybe she went to Beck University and earned her Masters in Stupidity. So much for libertarian ideals she’s so full if shit it is disgusting. We aren’t Pilgrims who just got off the Mayflower you whacko. The libertarians I know think a woman or man should be allowed to do with their bodies what they please without government interfering. Sounds like she is for big government controls of biology and medicine if you ask me. If her policies were implemented we would be looking at a disaster in public health. She is a know nothing loser who needs to go back to the whole she crawled out of.

      No sex, no cigarettes, no alcohol, nothing addictive in the off chance someone might become addicted so sorry cancer or chronic pain patients, no condoms, no birth control, no abortion, no pornography, no homosexuality, no individualism just a distorted view of Christianity for all of the nation to follow.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • And WHEN, oh when, is this lady going to voice her opposition to Halloween? Now there is an issue ripe for picking! It comes shortly before the election. Please, someone, get her to explain WHY she has not come out in opposition to Halloween! Likely she will see the close connection between HIV and Halloween. After all, they both start with H and H is also the first letter in the word “Hell” – and that’s a fact!

    • I wonder what would be the outcome if you devised a thousand questions about common political, social and cultural circumstances and randomly picked twenty of them and required people entering polling places to answer those twenty. And publish the results nationally. I know this isn’t possible. But I would sure love to know what it might reveal. If we could figure out a way to gauge how well informed the country is or isn’t it could have real value. Just as a way to wake people up and give them a little push to get in the game.

  3. Yeah and her sister is a lesbian.

    She is attempting to walk it all back.

    The point here is that there are no real questions being put to these morons. They–meaning sarah or michele or christine–can’t answer any questions. I doubt any one of them have ever read a bill in their lives.

    They could not discuss Roe v Wade with any idea of what it says or its repercussions over the last three decades.

    They have no idea what Miranda means and what it accomplishes in our criminal justice system and they would not have the foggiest idea how the original decision has been modified here and in the U.K.

    Oh I am ranting.

    Nice little rant by the way.

    • Thanks. It just made me feel so angry and appalled that some woman who obviously knows nothing about biology or health care issues specifically sexual health can have such uninformed, ridiculous opinions that are totally based on erroneous “facts” that she dreamed up. I have more contempt for her than Palin and that says a lot because my contempt for Palin runs deep.

  4. I think there is truth somewhere between these lines … with an overarching certitude that O’Donnell is a moronic asshat regardless.

    An IV drug user (I’ve known several) is not somehow powerless to stop. More to the point, when they DO stop it’s a decision made by them that does it. Period. It’s not voodo magic or even any form of treatment – treatment just helps someone who has DECIDED to stop occupy their time through the the mental and physical process of changing habituation (or teaches them the hoops they have to jump through to get society off their case so they can get back to using if that’s what they really want). But this reality aside, there isn’t any requirement that being a user means you have to share needles. Some people WILL NOT – some will.

    As for sexual activity, there is a lengthy stretch between celibacy as realistic prevention recommendation and saying a person could have just worn a condom. (although as a point of clarification Christians don’t generally preach celibacy, they preach monogamous marriage and fruitful multiplication – sex is reward for filling the role needed to produce younglings and carry on continuity of society). To say a sex worker has no choice but to be a prostitute just dips into the point of absurdity to me. I guess the same victim status is bestowed on a bank robber or meth cook if that’s what they do to feed themselves? And why couldn’t the prostitute have been a meth cook instead? Unless physically imprisoned, it’s pretty difficult to say someone “has no choice”. And again, if someone *decides* to be a sex worker and doesn’t use protection … how is that not just irresponsible stupidity? Is someone irresponsibly stupid REALLY just a wide-eyed innocent victim if their actions end with a rather predictable result? The premise kind of reminds me of this MadTv skit.

    I guess my point is that while O’Donnell is an asshat, the people you describe aren’t entirely sympathetic for the point you are trying to make (hemophiliacs and others infected through medical transmission – complete and unquestionable victims). Yes, we should have compassion for those suffering from any disease, and I get your point about demonization and agree with it. I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that in order to qualify for compassion one must be demonstrated a hapless victim. More important, we should have science-based policy both in treatment and prevention to which the question of someone being a “victim” is irrelevant.

    It doesn’t seem possible to address a rational policy without abandoning the entire frame O’Donnell presents – debating if people are victims implicitly accepts that the metric is somehow a measure germane to the discussion of national health policy. It isn’t. Shifting a debate to irrelevant nonsense is how the GOP (and team Obama) suckers dems/liberals … every time.

    • Regardless of why they contracted it no one deserves the death sentence which is the point. They are victims of a disease period.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • another trope said:

      I would argue that there an intrinsic danger to taking this view of the issue. What your argument is based on is the belief that there some true rational view of the world, in which every person has access to and then makes a choice that is either viewed as the rational, correct response or the irrational, incorrect response. Or more to the point, that everyone has equal access to arrive at the same decision and the resulting behavior.

      As point of clarification, it true that addiction and stopping the behavior associated with it are related to a decision. Yet what your post implies is that the decisions are made solely in what one could call the rational part of the brain. When studies the chemistry and brain behavior of addiction, one understands that addictions operate throughout the brain and center in parts of the brain that were formed long before the frontal lobes were developed. And how these function, along with the various hormones and such that are activated, differ from one person to the next.

      Many addicts for instance produce far less endorphines than the average person. So in a similar stress, emotionally “painful” situation, these addicts experience a higher level of pyschic pain because their brain is not doping them naturally. Meanwhile, people using your approch would be telling to just “buck up,” like someone in bruised their knee to someone whose knee was cracked.

      And then there are things like trauma. It is to our legal system’s credit that we have come to understand that past circumstances can alter a person’s reality so that what is rational to them differs to someone that has not experienced the same ordeal. That is why we have things like “battered wife syndrome.” You might wonder, “why didn’t you leave” or “how could you believe you were in danger when you shot him, when he was asleep in bed and of no immediate threat?”

      A lot of this gets tied up in the word “victim.” In some ways it has become a dirty word in our society because it is tied to helplessness and powerless in their minds. Yet in many ways most of us, all of us, are to some degree helpless against the culture we were raised, the parents that raised us, the priests and ministers our parents put in the care of, the bullies at school that roamed our schools, the chemistry of our brains, the way we assimilate expiences in the moment before we can reflect and process it rationally.

      • You make some really good points. Unless you have met someone with HIV and had to deal with them on an emotional level, it might be easy to judge and blame them. Early in the epidemic many health care professionals wouldn’t treat them, would shun them openly, and encourage suicide. There are many reasons why people make bad decisions but a bad decision doesn’t justify blaming them for an awful disease that’s treatment alone causes so many effects that are terribly painful and difficult to control. They are human beings whom I deeply care for. It could happen to anyone really and fault finding is so irresponsible when we speak of diseases as complex and devastating as HIV is. We don’t have health literacy at an acceptable level in this country, we don’t treat this with the zeal and passion we do with other diseases and it is disappointing. The risk factors are a long laundry list that aren’t limited to something as simple as unprotected sex or sharing needles, those are just modes of transmission. Poor self esteem, poverty, low education levels, etc. are all precursors to opening oneself up to risking getting infected. Speaking with patients who are even told wrong information by health professionals doesn’t help either. They do need to be loved and cared for no matter the incidence of their infection with the virus. Shunning people and forcing them into extreme destitution not only financially but emotionally and spiritually only propagates the risks further. People will look for acceptance somewhere and we have done an awful job at just loving people for the sake of love. Instead we impose harsh judgment when we don’t take the time to stop and understand how this happens to our human brothers and sisters so we can help them. All you need is love not judgment and hate. No ones house is in complete order so no one has the right to judge anyone who has HIV!
        Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

        • another trope said:

          This all reminds me of story I heard from a speaker who spent a year living a homeless person with another fellow (they put it into a book I believe called Living Under the Overpass I believe. They worked providing free food to the homeless and felt, in their case, a spiritual calling to walk a mile in their shoes so to say.

          Anywho…one of the stories he told was a family of four he stayed with for a few days. One night the mother was feeding the infant and put alcohol in the formula. She thought she was helping her child by doing this, to help remain calm and get needed rest.

          Then he related the thought that went through his mind: at what point in this kids life will society stop seeing him as a victim and start seeing him as a just a criminal, someone to ignore or lock away?

          It is difficult to hold seemingly contradictory thoughts, that this burglar needs to be punished for his or her crimes, yet circumstances beyond the burglar control led him or her down that path. We have a desire to want to be able to label actions, people, events “good” and “bad” – we don’t want ambiguity. To whom shall we love, and to whom shall we withhold our love.

          Thich Nhat Hahn said: “The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other. We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering. Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.””

          The medical community, along with the society at large, finds it difficult to engage in constant compassion because it goes against our “natural” resistance to suffering. We (the royal we) want to sympathize from a distance, which does not require this deep understanding. It allows to do it relatively suffering-free but also means that issues like “he’s gay” or “she’s a prostitute” or “they’re homeless” get in the way.

        • We knew one of the early people who died of AIDS. A fellow from my husband’s language dept who had spent the summer of ’81 maybe in San Francisco. And returned having dropped maybe 30 lbs. He told us he had some “new virus” – and by ’86 or so he was gone. Maybe sooner.

          So perhaps having had a personal face that early in the epidemic, I have seen a few HIV positive individuals. In one case the fellow and I went to pick out his coffin together. He planned the funeral and everything. Right there. That day. And both of us cried through the whole thing. That was in the ’90’s. Not exactly sure when. Now it’s more like a chronic illness than a deadly disease, at least in the US and where good medicine is available.

          Personally I think it’s not just the disease itself that might prompt right wingers to blame the victim. I think it has to do with the fact that in the US the first cases were among gay men. It’s the “gay” bigotry that seems to have taken over. Many innocent people get the disease. Because it plays no favorites, has nothing to do with being a good person or a bad person.

          It’s so easy to point the finger… And as pfc says… no matter WHO the person is or how they’ve lived their life, they deserve compassionate care.

          Both my mother AND both of her parents became senile. I hope and pray I get compassionate care – if it happens to me.

          • Fortunately as you correctly state it can be managed with medicine however the treatment can be so unbearable that people decide to put up with death over side effects. Also there is an enormous disparity between indigent and poor working class patients who rely on free clinics or go without after being told they can wait a few years for the meds, which is not a good idea to instruct because the virus is very unpredictable, and they don’t have routine labs done to see if now is the time to start. My last HIV patient in my clinical rotation was under the impression she only had HIV and couldn’t get AIDS unless she caught it separately. She uttered the words “at least he didn’t give me AIDS”. It is heart breaking and I can only imagine the terror in the early HIV years when no one knew what was really happening. I only hope to help restore quality of life and a reason to live for as many patients as possible. After my first encounter with an HIV patient and her waterfalls of tears in my arms as I held her, my mind and heart were made up this is who I am to help.
            Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

          • You also I think are dead on target about it being thought of as a “gay” disease. I remember hearing preachers spouting evil hate saying it is gods punishment. Just a reason to turn a blind eye and pretend it isn’t of your concern.
            Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

            • Here’s an amazing thing. My son, in his 20’s, had an HIV test – and they gave him the wrong results. They told him he was positive. He knew that had to be wrong. (I never asked, but I’m guessing it was info exchanged prior to a relationship.) So he went for test after test after test. And they were all negative!

              Now remember, the tests were all anonymous. So, he kept thinking that some poor soul, who also got the wrong results, went around thinking he was free of the virus… when in fact he had it!

              How in god’s name can you type all this on a blackberry??? Ok, you’re young. And you have tiny fingers… 😉

      • I like your argument here. Especially because, for example, people often voice one conscious desire to change while unconsciously undermining themselves because there are other, hidden motives – often emotionally laden, which, if more powerful, get in the way of change.

        Look at how I’ve been swayed by first one, then another… 😉

        • another trope said:

          Well, one of my therapists told me i took ambivalence to an art form. I can sway with the best of them. Maybe it is the Libra in me.

          • A discussion of this sort could go on infintely and still not capture the nuances of personality of all the billions of people on this earth. But at the same it has value for the very reason that it exposes that infinte varialbility.

            It’s to our great misfortune we don’t possess any particular natural ability to examine things of this scope. At least not without a very concerted effort and a lot of time. Neither of which are provided for in our overall or typical social construct. Not even close.

            • another trope said:

              This is what I think someone like Derrida was trying to develop. Not a theory to explain social phenomenon, but a way of approaching that social phenomenon in all its infinitely variable manifestations and then to be able to articulate it without demanding a closure with that interpretation. What is natural, and understandable, is that we want some sense of definitiveness about our experience. “This is.” It enables us to function in the day-to-day routines.

              But if we are going to go forward, then we need to find a way to lift the cultural consciousness and the way we understand and articulate what we engage, as another blog here puts it, to a level that has a little more finesse.

  5. “Christine ODonnell: You Have Made a Personal Enemy
    Out of Me Once Upon A TPM” in fact enables me contemplate a somewhat extra.
    I personally loved each and every individual element of it.
    Regards -Mamie

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