When has the United States reached its low point? When our president gets a shoe thrown at him? When a vice-presidential candidate can't name one newspaper she reads? When a presidential candidate says "oops" on a debate stage?
No, it's when a guy in Dallas gets Ebola.
It trends on Twitter, goes through the roof of Google trends, smears the front-page of every news source, and has found best friends in MSNBC, Fox, and CNN -- you know, the pinnacles of media.
Yet, amidst all this pundit-created chaos -- whether the chaos-makers are credentialed or not -- the people with medical degrees haven't told us to panic. According to public health officials and experts, the risks stemming from Ebola are relatively low. It's very difficult to catch because, unlike viruses such as the flu, it cannot be transmitted through the air. You need to come in contact with someones bodily fluids in order to get it, and as it turns out, that's not very likely.
Still, the chaos reigns. But not only because people are genuinely worried about people's lives, but also because it's a chance to rag on that skinny guy with the grey hair and big ears.Enter, Mike Huckabee:
The Ebola crisis is not a political crisis, its a public health crisis. But the problem dealing with Ebola can't be divorced from politics, and more significantly the Ebola scare goes to the heart of a simple question: Do you trust the government?
Exactly. Because a guy allegedly lying on a medical form in Liberia, then coming to Dallas with a relatively difficult-to-transmit disease, and then being sent into isolation really calls into question our governments ability to fight off terrorists, stimulate the economy, and generally run our country, right?
Wrong. In fact, if Ebola really scares us, we've got a lot more to worry about. According to the CDC, we can expect thousands of people to die from the flu this year, and over 30,000 to die from guns. But I don't see any Fox headlines complaining about that.
Moreover, the president's response has been everything it should be, and more. He is leading the international fight against Ebola, investing in Liberia's public health infrastructure and sending 3,000 military personnel -- a $750 million effort. The only alternative proposal offered by Obama's opponents is a travel ban from Liberia, a plan public health experts say is unnecessary and possibly harmful.
Huckabee is wrong -- if anything, the Ebola "crisis" is strictly political in nature. Even if Ebola were a Contagion-like disease that threatened to uproot the entire world-order, we still only have a handful of known cases within our border, all of which are being monitored extremely closely. There is simply no reason that this has created such an apocalyptic fury other than that it fits into the whole "he lied about our health insurance and Benghazi and the IRS and now he's letting Ebola in" narrative.
The American frenzy over Ebola is, at its root, a political weapon. It's perfect for people like Huckabee -- because talking about abortion gets boring after a while -- who have nothing better to do but take hits at the president by playing off peoples' fear. It's nasty, deceptive, and unhealthy, but for President Obama, it has to feel good that Ebola is the best Huckabee's got.