Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches
by Tony Kushner
Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Visions of America: The Reagan Era Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Prior: K.S., baby. Lesion number one. Lookit. The wine-dark kiss of the angel of death. (1.4.31)
Thousands upon thousands of Americans became infected with HIV in the 1980s. The lesion Prior reveals to Louis here was by this point a known sign of full-blown AIDS. One of the major criticisms of Reagan's presidency was his silence on the AIDS issue. Some say his long silence on the epidemic significantly increased the death toll. Reagan's harshest critics claim that the disease was not a priority because, at the time, it largely affected the gay community and drug addicts, whom Reagan thought were in some way being deservedly punished. Fans of Reagan say this idea is totally unfair liberal propaganda. Do your own research. Where do you weigh in on this debate?
Joe: America has re-discovered itself. Its sacred position among nations. And people aren't ashamed of that like they used to be. (1.5.63)
In some quarters, Reagan's presidency was greeted with an overwhelming sense of optimism. Reagan saw America as a force of good in the world and any country who opposed it as evil. He famously called the Soviet Union and its brand of communism the "Evil Empire." To Reagan, America's "sacred position" was to be the democratic leader of the word, vanquishing the communists. The US was Luke Skywalker, and the USSR was Darth Vader.
Joe: The truth restored. Law restored. That's what President Reagan's done, Harper. He says "Truth exists and can be spoken proudly." (1.5.63)
Joe is a proud Reaganite. If he could, he'd like to have Reagan's babies. Reagan was famous for stating simple "truths" that the general public could easily understand. Coming from Joe, this quote is a pretty ironic – he's got a big secret that he definitely isn't speaking proudly.