Feeling sad that apres-Republican convention isn’t as exciting? Dems will be here next Tuesday for more theatrics–but just in case you feel the warm glow fading, here’s a blast from the past when a speech really did change things, from the loyal opposition, Republican, AIDS activist and disease sufferer Mary Fisher:
Ms. Fisher, now 64, started her improbable career as an advocate at a time when AIDS represented an unequivocal death sentence. As a pretty blonde from a socially prominent Republican family from Michigan, she was a new face of AIDS, beseeching “family values” conservatives to demonstrate compassion. “H.I.V. asks only one thing of those it attacks: Are you human?” she said then. “Because people with H.I.V. have not entered some alien state of being. They are human. They have not earned cruelty, and they do not deserve meanness.”
Norman Mailer, the literary tough guy who was covering the convention for The New Republic, was awed by the “Republican princess” and the magnitude of her appeal. “When Mary Fisher spoke like an angel that night,” he wrote, “the floor was in tears, and conceivably the nation as well.”
The Speech, as it is called by Ms. Fisher’s friends and family, turned her into a global figure. Long before YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, the speech reverberated because it was heard simultaneously and in its entirety by 27 million people; the prime-time address was broadcast live by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and PBS.