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Re “The Most Invisible Man in D.C.” (10/4) and Scott MacLarty’s feeble plea for third party voting, especially the Green Party, so it can earn a permanent slot on the ballot in D.C. (The Mail, 10/11): The question no one wants to ask is, how has it been possible for Clinton to hoodwink an entire generation of voters?

I witnessed Clinton’s propaganda machine at the events surrounding the AIDS Quilt. I joined thousands of others holding “Hands Around the Capitol” on Saturday, Oct. 12. What was the purpose of this exercise?

We demanded…nothing, from either Clinton or Congress. Just

a bromide. “Join hands. Fight AIDS. Vote.”

Throughout the Quilt weekend we heard exhortations to vote for Bill Clinton, the president who blocked needle exchange, dropped his campaign support for the AIDS Cure Act, maintained HIV immigration exclusions, fired his surgeon general for stressing safe sex, and signed a Welfare Reform Act that cuts food stamps after three months for men with AIDS. The White House HHS AIDS spending proposal this year was millions less than the Republican Congress’ version, proving only that the Democrats and Republicans are so close they sometimes crisscross. I realized that events like the rallies, the hand holding, the AIDS vigil, and maybe even the Quilt itself don’t provoke meaningful political action, they sap and thwart it.

Here’s an example of the kinds of idiocy MacLarty and his fellow Naderites are up against. At a Human Rights Campaign “Come Out and Vote” lovefest for Clinton on the Ellipse, a speaker who had AIDS warned us that we wouldn’t get adequate access to drugs under Dole, Perot, or Nader, only under Clinton. Excuse me? Nader has built a career blasting corporate profiteering. He attacked cancer and AIDS-drug price-gouging in his Green Party acceptance speech. Clinton has never spoken on this topic, let alone offered leadership. And universal health care is conspicuously absent from his platform this time.

Our mainstream human rights, environmental, labor, and health care lobbies don’t want to jeopardize their cozy relationship with the White House with criticism or failure to endorse Clinton. (I’ve read that Clinton campaign bigwig Ann Lewis is on the board of HRC.) They’re all in bed with Clinton, but it’s not Clinton who’s getting screwed.

Dupont Circle