Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stand with Africa to fight Ebola

   Our elected representatives know it is political suicide to suggest raising taxes. Conservative political organizations regularly demand that candidates and incumbents take a so-called Taxpayer Protection Pledge in which they solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. So far, this has been politically effective for conservatives.
    Now, however, the world, including the United States, is facing a potential pandemic disaster from the Ebola virus that requires more action and money rather than mere slogans.
    One of the few things upon which both Democrats and Republicans agree is that foreign aid should be cut. The outbreak and spread of the Ebola virus in Africa has left both parties on the wrong side when the implications of cuts are considered.
    The Ebola virus has led the World Health Organization to issue a warning that this is an international public health emergency—a warning that should not be ignored. The outbreak of this incurable, highly contagious disease exposes us to the reality of how vulnerable we are in a world that grows smaller each day. No matter the geographical distances or technological gaps that separate the developed world from the developing, we cannot escape the mortal risks of this virus.
    This is not the first time the world has faced a pandemic. An estimated 675,000 Americans were among the millions who died of the flu at the end of the 1920s. So far, however, only groups such as Doctors Without Borders are being expected to bear the costs of fighting Ebola. The result is that a severely limited number of health care workers is the only real bulwark against the spread of this terrifying disease beyond the shores of Africa.
    Before efforts that focus only on controlling spending are applauded again, before no-new-taxes candidates are elected again, Americans must consider the negative effects of not providing enough public funding to guarantee our own well-being, much less the well-being of fellow human beings in distant countries. When a danger is clear and imminent, it is simply outrageous to value saving over spending.
    Political platforms mean nothing to a deadly virus. Like it or not, America needs to do more than just say that fighting Ebola is someone else’s duty. People blessed to live in the United States and other advanced countries have a moral responsibility to go beyond political efficacy and to stand with Africans in this battle.

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