Ebola is Here. Should We Freak Out?

Ebola is Here. Should We Freak Out?

Matt HealeyFriday,17 October 2014

The Snap:

Ebola came to America a few weeks ago. Well sort of America. It came to Texas, which I am not sure should be part of America. If we listened to the southern states, and I think we should, we could divide the country. After all, they don’t want to be part of the U.S., as evidenced by the petitions to leave the union. Regardless, it came to America and we did what we do best.

The Download:

That is, we freaked out. There have been news conferences about school children being exposed. Rick Perry gave a press conference where he did not forget any major points or government agencies that he wanted to shut down, so clearly the fear of Ebola has scared him to the point that he is actually paying attention. We are now screening passengers at airports to see if they have a fever before letting them into the U.S. Granted it takes between a few days and 3 weeks for symptoms to appear, so the screening will only catch people who are already symptomatic, not everyone who is affected. But it does send a strong message – anytime anything bad happens, the U.S. will not hesitate to fuck up an already bad air transport system in response.

The bigger question is should we have freaked out or not? It is easy to say no and to poke fun at the public’s reaction. We can point to the fact that transmission of Ebola is very difficult. We can say things like so far there has been only 1 death from Ebola in the U.S., but we are expecting between 3,000 and 49,000 from the flu this season and yet no one is talking about that. All of these things are true and yet we still freak out. Why? I think it speaks to a larger problem in the U.S. That is, we have lost our faith in institutions. We see the failure of the ACA roll out last year. The draconian and barbaric police state that has arisen in St. Louis and Ferguson. The massive credit card breaches at Target, JP Morgan Chase, and others. All of these things tell us that we cannot trust the institutions that are around us. Throw in a healthy measure of political bashing on both sides to score political points and you have a situation where no one trusts that if there was an outbreak in the U.S., even though it is unlikely, we would be able to deal with it. So maybe we should freak out.

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Image Credit: Flickr



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