Oh, America. A recent study showed that it isn't race and class tearing America apart, its politics. And now politics has found a new friend, Ebola. As the deadly virus tests worldwide response, fear is at an all time high. Now U.S. politicians are taking advantage of that fear and pointing fingers.
Here's a round up of how Ebola is top-of-mind in D.C. - for all the wrong reasons. (If pot ends up curing Ebola, will that become political too?)
1) Budget Cuts - Blame Obama!
Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said, "If we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this."
2) No Surgeon General - It's The Republican's Fault!
The public is calling on the Senate to confirm Obama pick Vivek Murthy as surgeon general. His nomination has been held up for over six months due to his views on guns from conservatives and the the National Rifle Association (NRA).
3) Not Enough Detection Centers - Obama's Fault!
The Centers for Disease Control told the Obama administration in 2008 that it needs 18 disease detection centers established around the world to safeguard America from emerging health threats. Six years later, the CDC has just 10 centers and none operate in the Africa region where the deadly virus is thriving.
4) Travel Ban - Democrats And Republicans Disagree!
Over 40 members of Congress, most Republican, called for a travel ban between West Africa and the US. CDC chief Tom Frieden wrote an op-ed on why a ban might actually increase the disease's spread.
5) Close The Borders Obama!
Some say Ebola will continue to come to America because of our porous borders. Scott Brown, Republican, has suggested that Ebola-bearing foreigners (along with terrorists and other criminals) can enter the U.S. thanks to Democrats’ refusal to protect the country. Thom Tillis, another Republican, charged that his Democratic opponent had “failed the people of North Carolina and the nation by not securing our border.”
This isn't the first time a health scare has been politicized.
In 2009, the Obama administration was criticized by Democrats and Republicans for its handling of the swine flu outbreak after reports emerged that Wall Street firms were getting first dibs on vaccines.
Just before 2002 mid-term elections, Democrats attacked the Bush administration's response to the anthrax attacks in 2001. Some Democrats accused the administration of using the anthrax scare to build its case for the Iraq war.
Will politicians stop the blame game and work together to solve this international health crisis? Time will tell.