Throughout the history of America, this country has a proud history of banding together when a dire threat is posed to our citizens. We do have our internal struggles just as any vibrant and living community will have. But when a common enemy threatens our citizens, we do become a family and we will fight like tigers against any enemy that would threaten our countrymen. And it doesn’t matter if that enemy is human or some other form of threat, we take care of our own here in America.
When it comes to diseases, our determination to use the finest medical community the world has ever known to fight off dread diseases is without reservation. We have brought our amazing medical community into the battle against dozens of diseases over the decades of our history and some, such as polio, we helped wipe out entirely.
We as Americans fully expect our government and our medical authorities to go on the attack with everything they have when a dread disease threatens our population. And we are not afraid to roll up our sleeves and join the fight ourselves. Witness how for a generation, we have joined Jerry Lewis in fighting Muscular Dystrophy through those telethons. Jerry Lewis, in his tireless work in fighting this disease, is a perfect example of the American spirit that we will not give up and year after year after year we will fight on until the enemy is defeated.
Then this terrible disease of AIDS came to our shores and we faced what may have been the greatest challenge of our nation’s history when it comes to fighting a terrible disease. Now because AIDS joined the classification of sexually transmitted diseases, there had to be a debate about how lifestyle and other choices entered into our national feelings about the disease. Just as with all national dialogs, that is actually healthy because we work through our fears, we learn what we need to know to be effective warriors against disease and we grow together as a society. That is another wonderful thing about America. We were never afraid to grapple together with even a difficult topic like the battle against AIDS.
But when all was said and done, one thing remained true. This dread disease was killing hundreds, and then thousands of Americans. And whatever we may think of our neighbors, we do not stand for our fellow Americans being attacked like that. That sense of loyalty to our own people is one of the great patriotic traits that have made this country great from its inception.
And so the battle with AIDS has been joined and as we have with every other major war that our country has taken on, we are throwing all we have at it. Ronald Reagan in his administration began the fight once we realized that despite the origin of the disease, we had to come against it because it was a threat to Americans. And that is not tolerable. Since then every US President, Republican and Democrat, has joined the battle against this disease.
AIDS is not defeated yet. And the fight against it has even taken on a bigger meaning to America that goes beyond just our patriotic instinct to defend our neighbors. Now AIDS is a global threat. But Americans will respond with a fury as we always have. Because along with being patriots, Americans see themselves as being responsible to their fellow man. And that is why we will continue this fight as long as it takes. That’s the American way.