I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch my rightwingnut friends run around in concentric circles as they randomly wave their arms about while screaming “the sky is falling.” I never thought I could become so enamored of the fascinating side effects of a disease. Much like those insipid suburban parents who insist upon announcing their procreative proclivities, I’m gonna put that ubiquitous Ebola stick figure in the back window of my minivan.
That oughtta drive ‘em nuts!
Of course, the disease our medical experts should be studying is the conservative’s unyielding capacity to think that absolutely everything is about them while they completely ignore the truth in the process.
Because the truth is, there have been a grand total of 4,500 worldwide Ebola deaths as of October 14. Though we certainly need to continue the multi-national effort to contain this scourge, Ebola is one of the slowest moving infectious diseases having afflicted just 9,000 people, most of whom live in impoverished portions of Africa.
Now let’s compare those numbers to the number of deaths from the diseases American’s so eagerly embrace.
1. Alcohol related illness.
U.S. deaths as a result of alcohol abuse annually hit the 90,000 mark, or twenty times more than the current from Ebola death toll.
Another 300,000 Americans perish from obesity related complications every year, but whenever the First Lady tries to address this issue or adjust school lunches, conservatives’ heads immediately explode.
Have a product that kills 450,000 people a year? All you need is a lobby powerful enough to placate those in power. Perhaps Ebola should start throwing some more money around.
4. Heart Disease
To be fair, some heart disease is hereditary, but that doesn’t mean the vast majority of those 600,000 annual U.S. deaths aren’t self-inflicted.
So where’s all the conservative rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, and general outrage over 1,440,000 utterly unnecessary annual American deaths? Oh that’s right! We’re allowed to kill ourselves, but we’ll react like lunatics whenever some unfortunate African folks try to hasten the process.
Then there’s this little tidbit; despite WHO warnings on the need to contend with an array of evolving global infectious diseases, Republican backed budgets cut CDC spending by half in the last seven years. Per Scientific American:
The CDC’s discretionary funding was cut by $585 million during [2010-14]. Shockingly, annual funding for the CDC’s public health preparedness and response efforts were $1 billion lower for 2013 fiscal year than for 2002. These funding decreases have resulted in more than 45,700 job losses at state and local health departments since 2008. Again, it is not just the Ebola that is a looming threat. We need to worry about vaccine-preventable but neglected infections like influenza, measles, and whooping cough; the serious emerging viral infections in the US like Enterovirus-D68, chikungunya and dengue, as well as overseas MERS and bird flus, and natural disasters.
Don’t worry, I’m not letting the Democrats off the hook because either, by their abject inability to stand up for anything they actually believe in, they went right along with these cuts.
But ain’t there nothing quite like a global epidemic to remind us that, whether we like it or not, we’re all connected. And correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Jesus say, “feed the poor” without regard to any “extenuating” circumstances? And wasn’t there something in there about being your brother’s keeper too?
Granted we can’t solve all the world’s problems, but it really doesn’t take much to provide the kind of expertise, education, and basic amenities that prevent these epidemics from ever gaining a foothold.
But because we often fail to extend the basic human kindnesses the new Pope often speaks of, as they almost always do, those chickens are coming home to roost in the form of Ebola on our own shores.
Ya gotta love conservatives and the bizarre reality they construct and choose to inhabit. I can’t wait to see how they blame this epidemic on the President.