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Unprocessed Rage

At about 3:00 A.M. this morning, New York State Senator Tom Duane kind of snapped.  He'd had enough of the backroom politics on a bill he supported that prevents people living with HIV or AIDS and receiving public assistance from having to pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent.  Duane, who is openly gay and HIV positive, took to the Senate floor and delivered an impassioned 22 minute speech.

All the pent-up rage from what people with AIDS lived through in the 1980's and early 90's, and even some of the shit we all live through today, can be heard in Tom's voice.  I've always felt we've never processed all the pain we went through back then.  And we're all capable of snapping from it -- letting it spill out at any moment.  There's a Tom Duane lurking deep down in all of us, waiting to be heard.

Thank you, Tom.

Oh, and as reported by the NY Daily News, the bill passed by a vote of 52 to 1.  You can watch how Tom did it below.

Peter on:


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Comments on Peter Staley's blog entry "Unprocessed Rage"

Thank you for posting the video and the outcome of the vote, Peter.

This magnificent man, and people like him, are all that stand between us and the brute forces of stupidity and indifference!


Tom Duane is a fucking hero. He makes the rest of the senate look like insects. For those of us who were there at the beginning, his speech is raw, searing, and totally inspiring. Thank god someone in government remembers and articulates the reality and history of this horrendous and unnecessary epidemic.

Whew, I only watch the first few minutes and felt the tears working thier way forward.

I look forward to watching the rest when I've made it through a few more of the dats chores, and can afford to devote more emotional energy to it.

Brilliant passion.

Thank you Tom Duane for CARING and your amazing level of compassion. Thank you for shining a light and holding a mirror up to the indifference. The indifference and callousness of many elected officials who don't care about people with HIV, who don't care about the g/l/b/t community and would prefer that we all just go away. The same officials who sat 20 years ago doing nothing are the same people who would vote against this people. You inspire. You are a voice to those that don't have a voice..Thank you

For those of us old enough to have lived through the hell of the 80's and 90's and have watched these events unfold, thank you Peter for sharing this and Thank You Senator Duane for your comittment and passion.

Those painful memories of the 80s and 90s and these are forever BURNED into my psyche...a plague that was NEVER properly recognized. Too much sickness and death for the young to weather -- for anyone to weather.

Evicted, disrespected, disowned and DEhumanized - criminal beyond belief...and there are those who are either still glorifying Reagan, Guiliani and are STILL in denial. So many gone, too many good people gone.

Please Tom take care of yourself but THANK YOU for reawakening my rage. So sorry the chamber was not full.

Applause...JUST vote for gods sake!

holy crap! Its so amazing to see someone in government who has passion for public service. He is a hero. A valiant human being with the power of his integrity and compassion his humanity. Its interesting to me to see these beasts of politics with no passion the woman sitting behind him texting or twittering on her phone during this amazing speech. I know they were all tired at that hour but they seemed as if they all started clapping not out of real recognition but out because they feared being the one not clapping. The woman in pink and white sitting behind tom as he spoke twittering and texting and she was the last one to stand. Bet she has never lost any one with AIDs.

Can we have more of him please and less of the like of her?

what a hero with strong passion and view, well said tom, the world need's more people who walk the walk like you.

This is one example of the Power of One voice; it gives me courage to speak out and do whatever I can do for those without a voice; I think of all my friends, my long lost cousin who live with HIV ; what I've learned about death and dying from attending only one AIDs workshop through my community and how it changed my view of life; Thank you Senator for being a great example of an exceptional human being who cares for LIFE.

Wow. I appreciate that I saw this and I have a great friend who posted it on Facebook. I think people need to share a link to this widely!

It's one of top political addresses of any sort I've ever seen in terms of honesty, zeal, and directness. It's heartfelt and inspirational.

I'm a young person who has tepidly considered getting involved in politics at some level. Seeing this man transcend local and national politics with such powerful addresses makes me think that it's possible for one person to make a difference through our political system!


Thank you, Sen. Duane, for saying what is important to us.

I agree with your sentiments, exactly.

Wow, what a brave man. Well done

In the last 10 years there has been no-one of such political magnitude to remind us of the ravages that AIDS caused in the 80's and mid-90's.I live in Berlin/Germany and everyone, regardless of race, age, preexisting medical conditions,unemployment, asylumn seekers, that means everyone living in Germany must have health insurance by law. If they cannot pay for it, the state will have to pay for it. There are no exceptions. Coverage is 100% and includes all necessary medication for any condition a doctor finds necessary. You can choose any primary doctor you want, and will be forwarded to any specialist that the primary doctor perceives as necessary. There are no additional charges. We do not believe that there is a price tag on health coverage. The rich pay more, the poor much less for the same coverage. The rich by law have to support the poor because the monthly insurance premium is a set percentage of one's gross income. This type of system would never work in the US because it is built on solidarity. I doubt that all Germans are happy with this system of solidarity, but they have no choice. The principles of solidarity in Germany are still engrained, but have overall been dealt a blow by the greed involved through the financial crisis. But the health system is still intact.

I did not cry until the end. Until the chamber rose to give him a standing ovation. this is what speaking truth to power looks like. Let us remember. Let us all be as brave as State Senator Tom Duane when people living with HIV/AIDS are threatened in our state, in our country.

Thank you for posting this. I will have been poz for 18 years this next month, and it seems like yesterday these things he speaks of, and its a crying shame it still happens today.

I thank you from my heart, that you did not let no one change your mine, and you stand up for what's right, I am proud to know that there is some one like Senator Tom Duane that care for people suffering from HIV or Aids, I was a New York City Worker for 19yr. I had to leave the job because of my HIV complication of the HIV Med. and Sinus & Bronchitis problem &fatigue, I know the job was going to medical separate which mean out of the I could not paid my Morg.and be out of health Ins. for my HIV Med. I had to sell my house in Queen before I would have lose it, with the little money from the sell I had to move to FL in Clermont, were I rent a apt for $625.00 a month, the HIV MD here in FL are not good in handing HIV complicaton!!!nor they care about us people with HIV/Aids. they have a bad bedside matter, I did not know that State Senator Tom Duane was going to make a HIV speech, I would be happy to supported him or any one trying to fight for the right of people living with HIV/Aids may God bless us all, and I hope for a cure for HIV/Aids, May God restore our's health from Roberto

Thank you. I don't think I can possibly write anything more. The video speaks for itself.

Its about time someone stood up and spoke the truth.

Amazing. Thank God for people like Tom Duane. I live in Missouri, where there is still prejudice and fear. I actually had someone refuse to buy furniture I was selling because they found out I was HIV+. They ran for the door.

To Tom Duane - Keep fighting. You're doing a service for people who don't even live in New York. You're a role model and someone the rest of us admire.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Staley published on July 17, 2009 3:35 PM.

Our Health-Care Debate Is Making Me Sick was the previous entry in this blog.

Too Soon, Dear Robert is the next entry in this blog.

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