Seems like just yesterday we were wringing our hands over the impending ISIS invasion of America.
Then we were denouncing (or defending) police brutality in our own backyard, while the law enforcement arms race quietly escalates. Does anyone even remember the name of that segregated St. Louis suburb? Or the name of that dead teenager?
Today it’s a (literal) viral invasion, muled across our borders by people of color (always such convenient suspects).
Never mind that I have a better chance of dying in the plane I’m about to board than catching Ebola. It’s a story filled with drama, tailor-made for our Hollywood-driven media culture. In fact, there’s already a television show in the works about this so-called epidemic.
There’s also the political angle. Stirring up the Ebola hysteria fits perfectly into the anti-immigration narrative. I mean, “We can’t let these people in, look at how dirty and diseased they are!” I mean, it’s not exactly blankets laced with smallpox, but, hey, you work with what you have.
Fox News’ own Shepard Smith called out the media hysteria in an on-air rant last week: “With midterm elections coming, the party in charge needs to appear to be effectively leading. The party out of power needs to show that there is a lack of leadership.”
That’s all this is. Human tragedy hijacked by politics. Governing hasn’t been important for at least a decade. All either party wants is the win, the headline, the air time. Legislation and leadership have become secondary, if that, in the Beltway.
Meanwhile, the latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that roughly two-thirds of the still-uninsured Americans say they know “little or nothing about Obamacare marketplaces.”
And a helluva lot more are even more oblivious. Despite a Nov. 15 open enrollment start date, an embarrassing 1 in 10 without insurance are actually aware of that date.
More than half haven’t a clue about the subsidies, and yet most of those polled still planned to buy insurance before the year was over. From whom, for who much, and where remains a mystery.
But I bet you those same people can tell you who’s in the World Series, or what airline carried that infected health care worker to Ohio and back.
I called it embarrassing, because as a member of the media, I find the furor over this story laughably tragic in its shallow hysteria. Meanwhile, the public wanders around uninformed about issues that actually affect their lives directly.
It’s embarrassing because as a member of the broker community — if even as an outside observer, tireless advocate and adopted stepchild — it feels like we’ve failed our clients as well as so many nameless, and clearly clueless, prospects.
If there’s an epidemic that threatens this nation, it’s one of ignorance, not pestilence.