It has been conclusively proven in recent days that if you want to know anything about Ebola that you should not listen to Fox News or to any Republican politician. The depth of Republican interest in Ebola has been sufficiently demonstrated by Dinesh D’Souza’s awkward attempt at an Ebola joke at President Obama’s expense.
The White House, on the other hand, released a FACT SHEET: The U.S. Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa yesterday. Yes, actual facts. About Ebola. About the U.S. response. Politics-free facts:
Since the first cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa in March 2014, the United States has mounted a whole-of-government response to contain and eliminate the epidemic at its source, while also taking prudent measures at home. The President last month outlined a stepped-up U.S. response, leveraging more thoroughly the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to support the civilian-led response in West Africa. Domestically, we have prepared for the diagnosis of an Ebola case on U.S. soil and have measures in place to stop this and any potential future cases in their tracks.
Isn’t that something? Though this might come as news to Fox News viewers, there is a world of facts out there. As opposed to Republican scare-tactics, the White House engages these facts and even lays out in clear, concise terms, it’s “four key goals” in combating Ebola:
- Controlling the epidemic at its source in West Africa;
- Mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls in the region;
- Engaging and coordinating with a broader global audience; and,
- Fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond, including within the United States.
You might notice that the White House goal is not to send our soldiers over there to get them infected, or to bring Ebola home and spread it in order to exterminate white folks. Both are Right Wing tropes as the mid-term elections approach.
In contrast, Ebola is not of interest to Republicans scientifically or medically, but only in the extent to which it can be sufficiently politicized. Witness Joe Scarborough’s fear-mongering and his temper tantrum when he got called out. Or Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who gets schooled by an NIH doctor when she calls for closing our borders in a panicked response to Ebola.
As Jason Easley wrote here the other day,
The Fox News view can be broken down into three parts:
1). Illegal immigrants are bad people who want to cause good God loving Fox News viewers like you harm.
2). Terrorists are around every corner, and they want to cause good God loving Fox News viewers like you harm.
3). Barack Obama is a bad man who has failed to keep you safe, and he wants to cause good God loving Fox News viewers like you harm.
Critics ask how the United States response would differ if Ebola were killing thousands of Americans. What matters is what America is doing while Ebola is killing thousands of Africans. The White House Fact Sheet details the U.S.’s “specific response efforts” to Ebola as part of a broader international response, and as it happens, it is extensive, including,
- Deployed to West Africa more than 130 civilian medical, healthcare, and disaster response experts from multiple U.S. government departments and agencies as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team as well as approximately 350 U.S. military personnel, constituting the largest U.S. response to an international public health challenge;
- Increased the number of Ebola treatment units (ETU) in the region, including supporting ETUs in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and one of our new ETUs in Liberia discharged its first four Ebola survivors last week;
- Increased to 50 the number of safe burial teams, which are now working across every county in Liberia to safely and respectfully dispose of bodies;
Further efforts will include:
- Overseeing the construction of and facilitating staffing for at least 17 100-bed Ebola treatment units across Liberia;
- Deploying additional U.S. military personnel from various engineering units to help supervise the construction of ETUs and provide engineering expertise for the international response in Liberia;
- Establishing a training site in Liberia to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling them to provide safe and direct supportive medical care to Ebola patients;
Operating a training course in the United States for licensed nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers intending to work in an ETU in West Africa;
What happens Republicans done? Blame immigrants for spreading Ebola across the border as part of a sustained effort to derail immigration reform and energize an already deranged Tea Party base, and, like RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, blame President Obama for Ebola.
Pretty impressive, huh?
The system is not perfect so our response will not be perfect, in large part due to Republican insistence on politicizing something that is inherently unpolitical and by doing all in its power to destroy Obamacare, the best means available to get the most Americans access to healthcare just when it matters most.
This is what we have:
This is what Republicans give us:
This is what the White House gives us:
Boots on the ground. Not to kill people. But to help them. A new and unique approach to the world’s problems.
The White House gives us facts; the Republican Party gives us fear-mongering and attacks on our president. Which would you prefer as a response to the most deadly disease of modern times?
Feature photo from United States Africa Command
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.