Thursday, October 16, 2014

Panic in the Streets of (Name of Your Town Here)

The recent Ebola coverage on the news media is just the latest panic inducer in a wave of fire fanning that has gripped this country over the past decade. Two people have come down with the disease and the entire country seems to be in a free fall. New polls show the majority of Americans are worried about it, and perhaps unsurprisingly, they blame Obama. They blame him for everything, so I guess that part is to be expected.

Over the past few days, I've seen the way this panic manifests itself on social media. First comes the fear, this irrational idea that we are all at risk and that everything is in peril. Then comes the hatred, blaming the first victim, and saying how said victim should never have been allowed into the U.S. and should have been sent back rather than be treated in a hospital where Americans would be put at risk. America always seems to return to its isolation roots in times like these. And the same people who are now the "most worried" about this admittedly scary disease are the same people who couldn't have cared less as the disease raged for months in Africa. Once it's on their doorstep, metaphorically speaking, they rant their uninformed panic to anyone who will listen.

Interestingly enough, these reactions seems to fall along political lines. The far right's endless campaign of fear and rhetoric urging people to distrust the federal government cannot be contained to the issues they wish for it to apply to. As a result, people don't trust the CDC. They don't believe that Ebola is as hard to contract as they say it is. They assume the government is hiding things from us. But to what end? Typically that would be to prevent panic...yet the panic is being created in spite of it. 

It's not that we shouldn't pay attention and be mindful of this dangerous disease. But we need to keep things in perspective. And for the love all things holy...STOP PANICKING!

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