As tensions grow between factions with different levels of concern over Ebola, a buzz-phrase has arisen: “Ebola has no political preferences.”
The supposition is that the disease will gladly infect liberals as well as conservatives, which is certainly true. The differences that matter, however, are the political engines that drive attitudes and reactions, as a crisis that should be unaffected by politics is in fact exacerbated by it.
It would be unfair to blame liberalism for the entirety of the arrogant displays we have been treated to since the late Thomas Eric Duncan lied to get into America. But there is no doubting that haughty and wholly unearned self-assurance, from the CDC to the White House, has played a huge part in the deception of the American people as to our readiness and willingness to fight this pernicious disease.
Throw in a heaping helping of political correctness and feelings-based leadership at the Dallas County level, and the stage is set for an exercise in weakness and incompetence that could have a considerable death toll.
Many articles of leftist faith are on display along the road to the sorry spot we find ourselves in. Begin with the infuriating unwillingness to enact the first and simplest sensible protection: a ban on any incoming travel from the West African nations that are the global Ebola hot zone. This stems from the unwillingness to stigmatize a remote part of the world filled with non-whites.
Once Ebola began to make its way around Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, another liberal habit reared its familiar head: the hubris of inflated government self-image. Conservatives embrace government that is strong but limited; liberals embrace government that runs our lives from cradle to grave. A government so massive and authoritative must be portrayed as all-knowing and trustworthy to a fault.
The left rejects— and tries to rewrite— any chapter in history that shows government to be richly prone to corruption and other human failings. This is just such a chapter, as the CDC has draped itself in ill-fitting robes of omniscience, assuring us that it knew everything about risk levels and protocols.
In the days since, its director has been reduced to reputational rubble, eating prior words even while he speaks new volumes of nonsense, as in his Wednesday pronouncement that one cannot get Ebola from bus passengers but bus passengers may well give it.
The famous tendency of liberals to lean on feelings rather than facts has further damaged our response and readiness. Ebola-related kindness and sensitivity apparently require awkward boasts and displays of close-quarters proximity to Ebola-soaked areas. President Obama lectured us on “the science” as he proudly described nuzzling nurses who had cared for Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol at Emory University in Atlanta.
Now the odds are that unlike the Dallas hospital, Emory was actually ready with Ebola-fighting protocols, one of apparently four hospitals in our nation of 320 million that is up to the challenge. This means the President was somewhat safer than the showboating Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who sashayed into the Duncan apartment in shirtsleeves, emerging to scold anyone who would not do the same.
Local Dallas officials seemed more driven to calm citizens down than to protect them from Ebola. From every corner came calls for “calm” and admonitions against “panic.” This was an Orwellian word game designed to squelch inquisitiveness and skepticism. For those of us who live in and near Dallas, there was no panic problem. Our problem was a crisis of confidence.
Mark Davis is the host of the Mark Davis Radio Show on 660 KSKY in Dallas and the Friday host for William Bennett’s nationally syndicated radio show heard mornings from 6-9am ET.