“A life lived in fear, Is a life half lived.
” (Slaughter, 2010) AIDS is a worldwide epidemic that has affected and is affecting millions of people. Even though it was not discovered until 1982 many stereotypes have come along with it. Mary Fisher is an AIDS community member and is not afraid to stand up and say so. Defending and helping those with HIV/AIDS and helping them spread the word instead of keeping silent.
In 1991 she found out that she had contracted the disease from her second husband and now Fisher is one of the world’s leading activists in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Newman, 2010)On August 20, 1992, Mary Fisher addressed the Republican National Convention in Houston. She spoke for ten minutes in the middle of the day, a time when most audience members milled around and talked rather than listening to the speakers. Fisher spoke in a way that established her presence and commanded the respect and undivided attention of her audience.
She represented the demographic that people considered to be excused from AIDS, above falling victim to its disturbing effects.She used herself to illustrate to people that even if they thought they were unaffected- that they could never test HIV positive- they were just as exposed as she was. (Fisher, MY NAME IS MARY , 1996) The main purpose of Mary Fishers Speech "A whisper of AIDS" was to promote awareness of HIV and AIDS throughout the United States. A key issue Mary addressed in her speech was that nobody, not anybody was safe from contracting the HIV virus.She stated "If you believe you are safe, you are in danger because AIDS does not care if you are democrat or republican, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, young or old, everybody is at risk.
" (Fisher, Inspiration Speakers Motivation Speakers, 1992) The message Mary wanted the audience to receive is that people living with HIV or AIDS are human too, and they should be treated with kindness. The "Whisper of AIDS" speech instantly made Mary Fisher famous and she quickly became one of the top AIDS activists in the country.She founded an organization called the Mary Fisher Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE) Fund and she currently serves as a United Nations delegate to fight HIV/AIDS. When Mary explains that she is straight, married, a mother, and white to gain approval from the conservative audience, and then she voices concern for those who differ from her afterwards, by mentioning the "black infant struggling" and "the lonely gay man.
" She did this in order to be accepted when she mentions those who might not have been accepted by the audience of the Republican National Convention.She even went further too really emulate with more of the audience when she linked people not supporting the HIV positive community to those during the Holocaust who did not stand up for the prosecuted Jewish population. She made them aware that if they did not embrace their civic duties to assist their fellow man, there was no guarantee that someone would be there when they themselves needed assistance in this statement, "They came after the Jews and I was not a Jew, so I did not protest.They came after the Trade Unionists, and I was not a Trade Unionist, so I did not protest. They came after the Roman Catholics, and I was not a Roman Catholic, so I did not protest.
Then they came after me, and there was no one left to protest. " (Blaine, 2012) I believe that Fisher intentionally used scare tactics to the audience in order to make them concerned. When she tells them that the only thing that AIDS is concerned about is if they are human, it seems as if she is saying that anybody in the building could easily attract AIDS.These scare tactics would make the issue seem more of an issue to someone that overlooked the problem and tried to ignore it. The scare tactics were used so that everyone in the room would be concerned about what she was saying, so that they would actually care about it because it might someday involve their lives.
(tcollins7200, 2011) Besides being deliberate, Fisher was understandable. She intentionally called for "courage," defining the word as "the strength to act wisely when we are most afraid. (Fisher, Inspiration Speakers Motivation Speakers, 1992) In communicating this powerful message, Fisher opened the eyes of her stereotypically closed-minded audience using the rhetorical devices of ethos, logos, and pathos. I believe her goal was to open the minds of conservatives who might have had a specific view of the AIDS problem during that time.
She stressed the fact that anyone at all could contract it, and that no one was safe in order to remove the misjudgments and cause people not to be afraid to talk about. She knew that if AIDS were able to be discussed openly, then more would be done to prevent it, and more would be one to help those who had it. (tcollins7200, 2011) Fisher touched her audience the most toward the end of her speech when she said premature goodbyes to her children to exhibit the urgent nature of her crisis. She said, "I will not hurry to leave you, my children, but when I go, I pray that you will not suffer shame on my account.
" (Mary Fisher, 2013) “The virus has done a marvelous job of finding those who are Black and White, gay and straight, young and old, male and female, African and American. But we've not yet learned to imitate the virus's ability to enroll everyone in a single community. ”