June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan and Angels

Ronald Reagan is Dead

During President Reagan’s two terms in office AIDS exploded within the gay male population in the United States of America. AIDS was and still is decimating the population of Africa though the Reagon White House ignored AIDS for the most part. He, on the other hand has died of Alzheimer’s Disease, equally devastating because it gradually deminishes one's ability to remember the immediate past, then the logical thought processes, and finally it steals personhood itself. The caregiver and family must confront the gradual destruction of their loved one even as he / she continues to need physical care.

So many of us fear Alzheimer's and AIDS that our culture is infected with our anxiety and is unable to react effectively to either disease.

The followiing, taken from the end of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America/ Part Two: Perestroika, provides a frame for my ambiguous feelings concerning the loss of Ronald Reagan.

PRIOR: I’m almost done....

...This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won’t die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come.
Bye now.
You are fabulous creatures, each and every one.
And I bless you. More life.
The Great Work Begins

Speaking of Alzheimer's

I wrote about my next door neighbor's (Tillie Herr) difficulties on May 30th. I understand that her test results showed some "chronic" problems, and interactions among some of her medications, but not Alzheimer's. Thank goodness!

*School of Theater at Ohio University, http://www.ohiou.edu/theater/index.html (June 6, 2004, 10:27 A.M. EDT)

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