Just a few weeks ago we Americans were infected by a dreadful disease. Not a plague of the body that escaped from Africa — one of the mind that was deliberately spread here.
Ebola was producing hysteria when I posted What to Do About Ebola following comments on my post about how politicians and the media were using Ebola to promote fear.
“Obama’s spectacular incompetence turns deadly” wrote Joseph Curl on October 15 in the Washington Times. The election was coming up…
Joni Ernst, subsequently elected to the Senate from Iowa with ads showing her castrating hogs and pulling a handgun from her purse, claimed that Obama simply didn’t care if we get Ebola.
Just before the election, Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post: “Ebola has crystallized the collapse of trust in state authorities.” Everything that’s wrong is Obama’s fault…
But the next day, October 31st, in the same paper, Paul Waldman wrote: “If you actually look at the facts, the disease has been completely prevented and contained here in the United States.”
Waldman continued: “Imagine that a year ago, I told you … west Africa would see the largest Ebola outbreak in history … that despite regular travel in and out of the affected countries … there would be a grand total of two … Americans who contracted the disease here … both of them would be treated, and would survive and be healthy … You’d say that sounds like a public health triumph.”
On November 11, Steve Benen reported: “The U.S. is now free of known Ebola cases. That’s not to say the threat is over … but Americans can nevertheless feel good about where things stand.”
Perhaps we will hear no more about Ebola now the election is over and it it is clear there never was a reason to panic. That would be unfortunate because there will continue to be outbreaks in West Africa.
We could afford to reduce and perhaps even end those outbreaks by spending less to protect ourselves against military threats that do not exist.
We could also make ourselves less vulnerable to such plagues by establishing a health care system that encouraged all those with symptoms to get promptly checked and, if necessary, treated.
But you and I as individuals can only think through whether we even want an affordable, equitable health care system. We can’t establish one by ourselves.
What we can do, though, is grow less vulnerable to fear, the disease with which we are deliberately and daily infected. As I write in Why I Write About Fear and Loathing, fear shuts down our reason. It makes fools of us.
No need to be fools. No need even to admit to others when we have been. No need to despise or hate politicians, media personalities or anyone whose ideas are different from ours. No need for unquestioning confidence or fear of our government.
All we need do is question what we are told, verify the facts, test the logic and above all be kind.
Not everything we are told makes sense or is healthy for us.