By Nick BeJeaux
It may be getting close to Halloween, but I’m tired of the attempted scares coming from politicians with an agenda talking about Ebola – give me clowns and ghost sharks instead, I can deal with those.
A good (read: bad, but effective) politician knows how to take advantage of a crisis, real or perceived, and shape it to fit their purposes, and that is exactly what’s going on when our “leaders” talk about Ebola. Governor Jindal, who is more keen to chase an office he will never win than protect and educate his constituents, has taken every opportunity to blast President Obama’s response to the outbreak in West Africa and the U.S. He has called the Obama administration incompetent and accused them of upholding its image in lieu of public safety. Jindal has repeatedly demanded that Obama enact a travel ban on countries that are experiencing an outbreak of the virus, a step that he has so far declined to do. What Jindal does not apparently realize is that bans on travel work both ways, and they can actually limit our response to the virus at its source and create even more risk to the U.S. and the world than there currently is.
Republicans everywhere are using their opinions on Obama’s response to the crisis to attack Democratic Senator incumbent Mary Landrieu. According to the GOP, Landrieu is doing nothing to pressure the Obama Administration to act against the disease. I guess since they assert she’s a “rubber stamp” for the President they’re assuming she has his ear. However Democrats are guilty of taking advantage as well. Landrieu has repeatedly, though to less extent than her opponents, used the Ebola situation against Bill Cassidy’s campaign. Granted, he kinda walked into that one when he decided to support budget cuts that take money away from health agencies responding to Ebola in West Africa.
You don’t need a magnifying glass to the divide between the two – have we ever? Republicans are taking advantage of the panic to get more votes, and Democrats are mostly cool about what’s going on. In fact, this difference of opinion on the seriousness of the outbreak in the U.S seems to directly correlate with political affiliation. A Gallup poll taken Oct. 18-19 found that 37 percent of GOP voters surveyed are confident in the federal government’s response to Ebola as opposed to the 71 percent of Democrats voters surveyed. There are no doubt many factors as to why this is, but I would guess the biggest cause is the scare tactics used by the GOP to discredit a Democratic administration.
That being said, I have to say that the Democrats have the right idea. Ebola is scary, but you have a 1 in 13.3 million chance of contracting the virus in the United States this year; you have a greater chance of being eaten by a shark – even if you live in Colorado. Now, when a group of 300 contagious individuals show up in New York City and go sight seeing for an hour or two, that’s when you ought to panic.
Truth be told, politicians that monger fear over stuff like this do so because they have no chance in hell of convincing people with rational arguments. They rely on knee-jerk reactions and for people to take their assertions at face value to get into any kind of office. Do not be fooled by candidates that think you’re an idiot – you’re better than that and don’t let them tell you otherwise. Don’t vote for people because they scare you. That’s just dumb.