Saturday, October 25, 2014

Today's Smiley Thought

The discussion today on the grapevine is STILL all about Ebola, our unexpected visitor from West Africa, and how to keep the virus out of the country EVEN THOUGH IT IS ALREADY HERE. 

Liberals are talking about the dangers of the infringement of travelers' PERSONAL LIBERTY if you start slapping them in isolation wards because they just got off a plane from, say, Sierra Leone. 

Conservatives are talking about CLOSING THE BORDERS, especially to scary people who may have shared a sandwich or held hands with an EBOLA PATIENT, or someone who touched someone who touched someone who touched someone who knows someone who looked at someone who is an EBOLA PATIENT. 

I have to like the way, in the days before midterm elections, both parties are showing their TRUE COLORS for us for a moment. Enjoy it while you can, dear reader.   The liberals are coming out in favor of the values they share with right-wingnut survivalist nutjobs -- people who want to throw snakes at each other at religious services, marry as many teenaged girls as they can afford and stock their underground bunkers with pineapple grenades -- that's PERSONAL FREEDOM, buddy.  That's PERSONAL LIBERTY.  The very thing conservatives think liberals want to take away from us.

The conservatives?  They're standing on street corners with cardboard signs saying REPENT!  THE END IS NEAR!  They want every healthcare worker who gets off a plane coming from West Africa to be quarantined, if not bundled into clingfilm wrappers and deported on the spot...or just SHOT ON SIGHT.  Well, maybe not shot.  The blood spray can be awfully hazardous.  But does that sound like respect for American freedom?  Or does it sound like drooling panic?  I ask you!

What I like most is the fact that all the frenzied argument is happening because one guy has died of Ebola here.  One guy!  Not a healthcare worker, by the way: a truck driver.  He did infect two other people, both nurses who took care of him before he died in what sounds like a vomit-soaked bloodbath.  Like any responsible people in the health field they watched themselves carefully, turned themselves in to the proper authorities when they got sick and got great care from the experts.  They are all better now.  The outbreak is over, see?

And it's over even though one patient after another has been flown into the country on purpose, sicker than hell with Ebola, so they can get the best possible treatment.  Are we all dead yet? 

Well, NO.

What I also like about this is the fact that when you go to any airport in the country, whether it's LAX or Podunk International in Nowheresville, you are going to find precious few flights coming in from Guinea or Liberia.  Travel routes in and out of Africa just aren't that direct.  Are the fearmongers seriously suggesting tracing the (often REALLY complex) travel histories of everyone who MIGHT have set foot in one of the three affected countries and MIGHT have been exposed while they were there? 

And they are only trying to identify healthcare workers.  What about the guy who does the hospital laundry?  What about the lady who delivers boxes of sandwiches to the Doctors Without Borders team?  They might brush against some infected blood and come to Peoria, too, you know.  Eric Duncan did.  How you really gonna trace all those people?

I love election time.  All that baying at the moon brings me a smile every November.

I also love how well the countries most seriously affected by the epidemic are handling this.  About 10,000 people were infected all over the African continent at last count -- and only 27 people OUTSIDE those countries have gotten sick.  Only 10 of those have died. 

That doesn't sound to me as if it were time to man the panic stations.  That's all I'm saying.


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