A couple nights ago on an airline flight the flight attendants locked a woman in the lavatory for the remainder of the flight because she was nauseous and throwing up and the rest of the plane in a panic. A couple weeks before that a flight on the ground was locked down and a hazmat team sent aboard because a black man made what was an obvious joke that he had Ebola when he sneezed.
One morning I heard a political commentator, a former Bush 43 advisor and now a member of The View, claim that Ebola in the United States is playing out just like an outbreak in the Hollywood movie “Outbreak” was playing out. Someone asked her what virus the movie was about and very vehemently she purported it was about an Ebola outbreak. Well, with a very complicated research process called Google into Wikipedia, I found out that actually “Outbreak” was based on a completely fictional virus, and one that is airborne. Ebola is not airborne it is transmitted only through bodily fluids.
And now it has been become political as part of the run up to 2014 Midterm elections in November. All of the republicans, and half the democrats, who have to pander to paranoid red staters, believe they are more expert on the spread of infectious diseases than experts on the spread of infectious diseases. They want a travel ban on all people into the U.S. from the hot zone regions of West Africa affected by Ebola in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The experts know that such a travel ban would make matters worse for the west African countries suffering from an actual Ebola outbreak by restricting the flow of resources and volunteers in to help as well as for our ability to stop/prevent the entry/spread of Ebola into our country. The bootleg experts claim that “there is no reasonable argument against a travel ban” and some have also said the actual expert’s reasoning is “patently false.” And that reasoning has actual logic behind it such as with a travel ban anyone trying to go around it to still get into the country we’ll lose the ability to check them for a fever and if they have one the ability to quarantine them.
And the political reaction to a few cases of Ebola showing up in the United States is not limited to that. It gets more disgusting. It’s a bit of the same old racist dog whistle politics around the first black President of the United States. Because POTUS is listening to the experts and not right wing fear mongering, we have some of the worst accusing the President of having an allegiance to West Africa over the health and safety of the U.S. population. During questioning of multiple agency heads such as the CDC at a Congressional hearing last week, one republican congressman suggested the Obama administration actually had a “desire” to “bring Ebola into the country.”
And this brings us to another focus, the U.S. ability to provide funding and practical aid to the West African countries bearing the brunt of the outbreak, not only with our vast wealth and infectious disease expertise, but also with our very quick military command and control to set up a better health infrastructure, simply like hospital beds in quarantine from the rest of population. A lot of the aforementioned political rhetoric that includes talk of a travel ban is a very strong visceral reaction of global isolationism and pure selfishness. It is a reaction also based mostly in irrational fear persuading one to think the appropriate reaction is to over-handedly protect ourselves at the expense of helping those outside our country. That rhetoric is doled out to a population that is all too willing to listen, and thus we now have polling showing that a large majority of Americans support a travel ban despite the message getting out that the experts definitely disagree. And a just as interesting and relevant fact when it comes to U.S. government intervention in foreign humanitarian crisis and in this case ones involving diseases, the government agency Centers for Disease Control is always on the ground in response to outbreaks across the developing world, including ones much smaller than the current Ebola.
All of this is part of a larger societal reaction to not understanding the actual nature of Ebola and its spread. It is pretty apparent that the United States has an actual outbreak of a case of “Fearbola.” The extreme rhetoric based on fear that politicians use not only is pandering to the common American phobia of things that are other, and from the outside, but it is also perpetuating the fear, creating it where it has not yet bubbled up and feeding it along. Thus we have a plethora of stories similar to the ones I opened this post with. I’ll describe some more, but I doubt it will even touch on the totality of the situations that have occurred around “Fearbola”
To start off, one of the Dallas hospital workers where the Liberian man with Ebola was treated and eventually died, one who did not treat him but worked with some of his lab samples, she was among some 70+ hospital workers who were supposed to isolate themselves and watch for a fever for 21 days. This is not the one who actually came down with the disease but just a random one who was very unlikely to have had it. Before it became aware there was a risk for the hospital workers, she had went off on an Ocean cruise. When it did become known, of course she and her traveling partner had to go into self-quarantine aboard the ship until they could get her off. But what is ridiculous, despite her not having any fever or conditions related to the onset of Ebola, it was still demanded that she be given the rigorous lab test for Ebola. The Coast Guard literally sent out a helicopter which had to drop a line to the ship to obtain her blood sample. And further more, the Cruise Line, I believe Carnival Cruises, decided that after that cruise it was going to go through the process of decontaminating the whole ship. That’s ridiculous on its face, but actually rather reasonable considering that their business would probably suffer from the result of having her aboard.
And then there was one of the two Dallas hospital workers that had intimately cared for the Liberian man who actually did come down with Ebola. Because of the flight she took to Cleveland before she started showing symptoms, where all of the passengers had to go into isolation and watch for fever, some Elementary school temporarily shut down because of one of its students being a passenger on that plane. I would not be surprised if they decontaminated that whole school like they did for the plane.
The overhanded precautions start to get even more ridiculous and just plain out unnecessary. It’s to the point where both my mom and I had thought both before we talked about it that the word “Ebola” is going to be like “bomb”, you won’t be able to say it without inciting panic. One of the most plain out absurd situations I heard was of a School that had shut down just because one of its teachers or maybe its Principal had traveled to Dallas. Another school shut down because one its teachers had just returned from his brother’s funeral in Zimbabwe. If you are not aware of African geography and its vast size, Zimbabwe is a country in South Central Africa, 3,000 miles away from Liberia or almost 1,000 miles longer than the distance from New York to LA or Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.
It’s now pretty parent that the U.S. outbreak of “Fearbola” is just flat out racist. Oh, and xenophobic. The Liberian immigrant community in the U.S. is claiming that they are experiencing discrimination because of Ebola, and the fear of it. I tend to believe them, and am hardly surprised. They now have a social media messaging campaign saying “We are Liberians, not a Virus.”
The flat out racist part of “Fearbola” now can even be seen manifested in institutions. A private college in Texas was in the news, and all over liberal media, because it had rejected the admission of a prospective student from Nigeria. In its rejection letter it had said that it was “Now not accepting admissions of students from West African countries affected by Ebola.” Just refusing to accept students from countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone that are still suffering a very disastrous outbreak of Ebola is racist, xenophobic itself, reeking of quite classic American fear of the other and the outside. But refusing to accept a student from Nigeria raises that bar even to a more ridiculous level. Yes, Nigeria is separated from Liberia only by a few smallish countries, and has had 20 confirmed cases of Ebola. But because Nigeria is the wealthiest African country it has a significantly better health care infrastructure that has allowed it to limit its own Ebola outbreak to only 20 people, and based upon a specified period of time since the last case of Ebola, is considered to be Ebola free.
All of this is just wrong as is so often the behavior of the American people as a whole. And the last things Americans do in times of such behavior is think more deeply and inform themselves. They take their little narrow minded rages of fear in pride, especially because of the myth of American exceptionalism in which they regard themselves, and refuse to check their thinking and behavior. They refuse to listen even to those that certifiably know better than them. And seemingly ever more so vehemently in the cases in which they are flat out wrong.
Photographs by Thom Sheridan
In 1986, the United Way attempted to break the world record for balloon launches, by releasing 1.5 million balloons, which resulted in two deaths, millions in lawsuits, and a devastating environmental impact.
Okay, this is very interesting, and showed up at just the right time.
I don’t see how I don’t eventually and relatively soon in the context of a long life pop 5 klonopins, shoot 5 bags.
And it’s feel good easy.
A lot better than…. the muscle soring shame of social behavior in a few specific interactions infinitely and incomprehensibly embarrassing, inappropriate…. and despite all wildly possible confidence, a deeply resented pariah of a physical existence.
The thing about many of us that endure the many months of rigid cold that properly should bite into your soul, it is integral to our lives.
Ok, I’m a freak. I knew this, but just a warning to those who have only seen my lying pictures, I am shocking ugly and odd. Otherwise the song is decent. Lost a bit of quality on audio and video.
Euphorbes des Pêcheurs by: LIttle BiG NatuRe
I’m sitting here looking down the eastern direction of Lake Ontario and it’s pretty much impossible to distinguish the horizon, where the lake meets the sky. It all just “fades to grey”.
So many negative realities manifested today, and they’re all a boost to my ego, as yet another day comes and goes that comfirms the nasty refusal of kindness that exists, in this world, or possibly at least just this country, where social posturing is disguised as friendliness, and friendliness to strangers being cast as weird.
So many thoughts buzzing aroundy head, it’s good, but I really get them into writing, but it’s just too much to put down, especially when they’re all interrelated and need to be correlated in the form of the story it tells.