Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Blank Check for AIDS

I receive a monthly newsletter from U.S. Senator Bob Corker, who represents my state in Washington, D.C. In the August 2008 edition, this jumped out at me:

Combating HIV/AIDS is one of the most critical long-term health and national security issues facing the developing world, which is why I recently supported legislation to reauthorize funding for U.S. global HIV/AIDS programs. During trips to Haiti and South Africa over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of talking with individuals that, because of the generosity of the American people, are accessing prevention programs, receiving anti-retroviral medications, and learning skills to improve their quality of life with AIDS. I also met with individuals that have not been so lucky and recognize that more can and should be done to reach these people in need. I was disappointed that the Senate did not pass a couple of amendments that would have further increased accountability so that in the future we can better ensure U.S. programs and contributions are going to fight this disease in the most effective way. Overall, I am pleased to have had a role in shaping the bill, and I hope it brings us closer to meeting the needs of HIV/AIDS patients globally.

First, I'd like Mr. Corker to explain to the good people of Tennessee why dealing with AIDS in Haiti and South Africa is their responsibility. I'd also enjoy watching him shred the Constitution as he searches in vain for that clause giving him authority to fight diseases in Can'tKeepItZipped-world countries. I won't hold my breath waiting for his explanation. He's far too busy emoting for such inanities.

because of the generosity of the American people. . .

This is politician-speak for "that good ol' boy didn't run me down and bash my head in, when I mugged him. Whatta guy!" I think the American people's record on giving selflessly dwarfs that of all other countries, but I see a difference between charity--which is voluntary, by definition--and having my money confiscated without my input.

Suppose I'm walking down the street with you, when I see a drunken bum lying on the sidewalk. I turn and remove your wallet from your pants pocket, peel out a five-dollar-bill, and proffer it to Ned the Wino. Then I look at you, smile, and say: "Thanks for your generosity to the less fortunate; you're a real inspiration, bub."

That about sums up Mr. Corker's attitude, whether he realizes it or not.

As for utopian tripe like "meeting the needs of HIV/AIDS patients globally," I have a little idea of my own that I'd like Mr. Corker to remember:

As you open your heart, keep your hand out of my wallet. Nobility on someone else's dime is nothing more than robbery committed in knight's garb.

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