House Republicans Vote for 30 More Years of HIV

The Republican controlled House of Representatives voted 217 to 213 today to kill Obamacare. And I’ve been trying to write about that vote for the last several hours but I have to keep stopping because I can’t see through the tears. 217 men and women voted to snatch basic healthcare out from underneath millions of Americans—and then they cheered.

BY BRENDEN SHUCART

First of all, let me apologize: I set out to write something informative about today’s vote, something to give our readers a sense of how this came to pass, and why, and what it means going forward—but this is not that blog post. I’m too scared and pissed-off to write anything smart and educational.

For the first time in my entire life—36 years—we had a real path out of the HIV epidemic. Advances in treatment and prevention made bringing an end to this plague a real and tangible possibility. This disease which stole our best and our brightest—our leaders, our heroes—and left us lost, and broken, and distrustful of our own desire to the point where we are just now starting to put ourselves back together, just now learning to love ourselves and each other with something resembling normalcy.

For the first time in more than three decades we can see a path out of the darkness. The end is RIGHT THERE and the Republicans effectively voted to keep AIDS alive and well in America for another 30 years. But who cares right? It’s only faggots, and poor brown people. Who’s gonna miss us?

Now, many of my friends, smart people I respect greatly, assure me that this is only a “symbolic vote.” They say this is just a little red meat for the base and a tiny victory for Trump so that he can say his first 100-plus days weren’t a total failure, and that the Republicans in the Senate will never let this terrible bill become a law. Those people have a lot more faith in the capacity for long-term strategic thinking in the Party of Trump than I do. In fact, I could see them ending the filibuster over this, easily.

And make no mistake, if this bill makes it through the Senate people will die. We won’t know how many until the Congressional Budget Office finishes scoring the legislation, but it’ll be more than a handful. Not those of us who live in California, of course. We live in a state that actually cares whether it’s citizens live or die, and is wealthy enough to do something about it. If the Senate really does put a bullet in the back of the Affordable Care Act’s proverbial head, those of us in the Golden State will most likely find ourselves in possession of a bright new shiny single payer healthcare system. But my friends and loved ones living across the Old South? They are not so lucky. If Obamacare dies… (Fuck. I can’t finish that sentence.)

I don’t want to leave you without any hope, and if there is one silver lining it’s that ActBlue and the Daily Kos have identified about 50 House Republicans holding very vulnerable seats, in all likelihood made all the more vulnerable by todays vote. And you can donate money *right now* that will go to whichever candidates decide to challenge them come November. So DONATE. It’ll make you feel better.

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