Ebola and Obama – what’s the connection?

While the rest of us try to think rationally about the possible spread of the Ebola virus, it would seem that that strange mental construct that is the American right is trying to make the whole thing President Barack Obama’s fault.

Funny that. As I was writing ‘President Obama’, I realised that while, to the right, Bush was always ‘President’ Bush when he was in office, and the right still refer to him as ‘ex-President Bush’ they refer to their current President as ‘Obama’.

What we have here is the ‘Starbucks/Twitter’ phenomenon whereby it doesn’t actually matter what you say, all that counts is that you reach an audience. Having reached said audience, the very contrariness and consistency of your opinion makes people question their own reasonably sound ideas.

Take the Starbucks thing, for example. Starbucks encourage their employees (or did) to write people’s names on the coffee cup with obvious errors. So ‘Mandy’, for example, would become ‘Mandi’ or ‘Mandye’. Mandy then goes on Twitter or Facebook and complains about the idiots at Starbucks and everyone joins in – not realising that Starbucks are being mentioned over and over again, and raising consciousness of their brand, which is the whole point of the exercise.

In a similar way, egomaniac Donald Trump comes out with the most inane stuff, and though he is as mad as a bag of cats, it still gets a wide audience. Now, here’s his contribution this week on Ebola.

He thinks that President Obama should stop people flying into the US from countries affected by Ebola (cause it’s just so darn easy to get into the US, we all know that) and even opposed allowing the Ebola-infected American doctor, Kent Brantly, back into the country for treatment. His contribution was: “I am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with President (congrats for the respect there, Donald) Obama’s mental health. Why won’t he stop the flights. Psycho!”

Trump, of course, has already proved that when it comes to politics, he is not playing with a full deck. He still believes that Obama wasn’t born in the US and that his whole Presidency is illegal, but that’s a story for another day.

But Trump is not alone in his ‘Everyone panic now’ stance, and his laughable idea that Obama and the Democratic Party ‘hate America’.

Take the former Massachusetts Senator, Scott Brown. He has warned about Ebola-infected terrorists infiltrating America by entering through Mexico. Yep, that’s a worry alright, but only of you’re a complete moron. But his latest claim is even more crazy.

“Gosh, can you imagine if Mitt (Romney) was the President right now? I guarantee you we would not be worrying about Ebola right now and, you know, worrying about our foreign policy screw-ups,” he said.

It’s not fair to represent all Americans as all being this thick-headed. Fox News, and the other hard-right American commentators take up too much space in the debate because they shout the loudest. It doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to appeal to those with a grievance or gripe.

Another nut and Tea Party member, Louie Gohment, put his two cents forward on Ebola. He called the director of the Centre for Disease Control, Tom Frieden, the leader of a ‘Democratic war on women nurses’. He didn’t mention the real war on women in the US, carried out by the Republican Party to prevent then from making the same money as men, or denying them their reproductive rights.

You see, Ebola is the tool that them Dems are using to wage a war on women nurses. That’s pretty clear then.

But despite the seriousness of the Ebola issue, some people just can’t deal with any issue without pushing their own agenda.

Take ‘Dr’ Keith Ablow of Fox News. He said this week that Obama thinks of himself (how can he know?) as a ‘citizen and a leader of the world’ who has no affinity with any particular country – ‘perhaps least of all for this country’. He says that ‘as a psychiatrist’ this is his considered opinion. Albow says he would love to sit down with the President and have him explain to him why he hates America so much and why this is a problem.

“It’s psychologically difficult to defend and protect a country that you have it in for,” he said, torturing both the English language and logic in just one sentence.

But, as I said earlier, there is a little bit of hope beyond the ‘Obama/Ebola – it sounds the same, must be the same’ logic.

The New Yorker ran a satirical piece this week titled “Some fear Ebola Outbreak could make Nation turn to Science”.

And in the piece by Andy Borowitz he quoted the presumably fictitious Harland Dorrinson (a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield Missouri) as saying: “It’s a very human reaction. If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science.”

I certainly hope so.

For more of my musings on Ebola click here.




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