calling a plague a plague

A surprisingly mild-tongued Larry Kramer calls a plague a plague in the NYTimes today.

Why does no one have the courage to say loudly and unequivocally that 50 million people around the world are going to die in a matter of days or months or at the most a few years unless they are treated immediately with the life-saving drugs that are now available? I have arrived at this figure after conversations with many experts.

. . . .

When I first heard about what would become known as AIDS there were 41 cases of some strange occurrence. Almost 25 years later we have failed to mount a thoughtful, concerted effort to stop what is now this plague. We have failed to keep up any pressure. We have failed to outrage each other enough so that people in authority would have no choice but to do something.

For almost 25 years we had our chance to do something. Year after year, we blew it. AIDS tells us about the worst of America and the world. It tells us that people don't care about others. It shows us over and over and over again that people can be allowed to die. It should break everyone's heart. Why doesn't it?