The Ebola Virus is now a Political Issue

If you are getting worried about the dreaded Ebola virus you are not alone. By now every American should be experiencing some level of anxiety or fear about this deadly virus. Any anxiety or fear of Ebola is not because it has exposed the unpreparedness of the US to effectively treat it–rather it is the fear of the unknown. The biggest fear is that Ebola could become endemic here.

From the day the Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan became the first Ebola statistic in the US, Ebola has sent a shockwave across the country. This shockwave intensified ten days later when Duncan succumbed to the virus. Following allegations that the protocols were breached or deficient at the Dallas hospital that treated Duncan, many unanswered questions about Ebola emerged. Despite the nonstop media coverage with expert commentators, the concerns, uncertainties, and unanswered questions remain.

Prior to Duncan being diagnosed as the first Ebola case in the US, Americans were assured and made to feel confident that the virus was not a threat to the US. Perhaps the perception that African countries do not have the resources or expertise like the US to deal with a deadly virus gave Americans a false sense of security. In a world that has become more accessible, it is extremely difficult to isolate any affected-country from the rest of the world.

The deadly Ebola virus could not have hit the US at the worst possible time – a time when the political climate in Washington is not healthy. With the political divisiveness and the GOP blaming President Obama for everything he does and is unwilling to work with him to fix America’s problem, the non-partisan political effort to deal with problems like Ebola becomes questionable. Ebola has already become a political issue as some Republican politicians have blamed the president for the virus now being in the US and calling for a travel ban from the affected-African countries – something that the president has said he will not do.

Because of the anti-Obama crusade that has existed since the President Obama was first elected in 2008, any political move by the GOP is suspicious. The GOP’s call to impose a travel ban on affected-African countries is no exception and might be a political ploy. Imposing a travel ban on just African countries will not solve the potential problem of more Ebola affected people entering the US. For this to be effective you would have to impose a travel ban on all countries that engage with travel to the affected-African countries. Not surprisingly, they are taking the opposite position instead of working with him to deal with this deadly virus.

The GOP knows that a travel ban on African countries affected by Ebola could become a big political issue for the midterm November election. The stakes for the mid-term election are high as the GOP wants to get control of the senate. It is bad enough that one African man is responsible for the Ebola cases so far in the US. The thought of more Africans coming into the US is enough to drive most Americans crazy. The fear that the Ebola virus has created in the US would make most Americans happy if a total trouble ban is imposed on all of Africa. Let’s not be naïve here, even without Ebola many conservatives would not have a concern if black Africans were totally restricted from coming into the US for any reason at all.

In every situation where human life is at risk there are always lessons that can be learned. Unfortunately, the message that comes out of these life-threatening situations goes unheeded and reaction comes almost at the last hour. For example, despite global warming being a potential threat to human life no serious measures have being implemented to help curtail the human contributing factors. Ebola has been around in Africa since 1976, yet there are no effective vaccines to deal with it.

If there is one message that the Ebola virus has revealed it is that developed or wealthy countries must not ignore diseases or viruses that could become pandemic. Countries like America, England, Russia, Japan, China, and other European countries have a moral responsibility to help Africa deal with problems like the Ebola virus. Some of these countries have exploited Africa for centuries by destabilizing it, harvesting its abundance mineral resources, and even destroying communities by abducting people for slavery. Developed countries like the US have had ample time to provide effective measures instead of the band-aid measures.

If the rest of the developed nations are going to deal with Africa (and they will since they get mineral resources from Africa), they will have to help Africa develop the kind of infrastructure that is needed – research facilities like the Center for Disease Control here in America– to help in the frontline effort of stopping deadly diseases and viruses before they become an epidemic or pandemic.