GOP Swine Flew Cure-All


swine-flu-nunsby Monroe Anderson

In the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as far as the father of the bride was concerned, Windex was the miracle cure for anything from “psoriasis to poison ivy.”

In real life, among the dwindling membership of the Party of No, lower taxes is their Windex. 

No matter what political, economic or social challenge confronting our nation, the GOP mantra calls for lowering taxes, cutting taxes or flatlining taxes. As individual American citizens, the Republicans tell us, we can spend our money much better than the bureaucrats in Washington. 

So, right now, right here, we have a threatening crisis that could further cripple our sick economy and, btw, who knows kill how many of us along the way: the swine flu outbreak.

At this moment, more than 100 have died in Mexico from the influenza virus, but so far there has been no fatalities in the United State. Should this public health emergency take a turn for the worst by developing into a pandemic that leaves tens of thousands or millions of Americans dead in its wake, the only measure that will outpace finger-pointing will be vaccination shots.

Hopefully, we’ll only need vaccination shots in limited regions throughout the states. In the meantime, allow me to be one of the first to point a finger: The Know-Nothing party thwarted one preventative measure, fearing it might lead to more taxes.

In a post entitled, GOP Know-Nothings Fought Pandemic Preparedness on the website of The Nation, John Nichols reports:

When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year’s emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse — with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

But former White House political czar Karl Rove and key congressional Republicans — led by Maine Senator Susan Collins — aggressively attacked the notion that there was a connection between pandemic preparation and economic recovery.

We don’t know where this swine flu outbreak is going or how soon it will end. But the World Health Organization has been extremely concerned and vigilant since the outbreak has already crossed international borders.

In a special report to the GlobalPost, Christine Gorman writes: 

Although no fatalities have been reported in the U.S., the latest reports from Mexico suggest that more than 100 people have died and at least 1,400 may have been infected with the never-before-seen flu.

On Sunday, Canadian health officials confirmed six cases of human swine flu — four in Nova Scotia and two in British Columbia — while public health officials in New Zealand, Israel, France and Spain began testing several patients with flu-like illnesses who had recently traveled to Mexico to determine whether or not they also had swine flu.

Part of what concerns health officials is that most of the fatalities in Mexico have involved adults under the age of 60, which does not fit the usual profile of a seasonal flu outbreak. That pattern is, however, reminiscent of the flu pandemic of 1918-1919, in which the very young and the very old tended to be spared while most of the fatalities occurred in adults in their 20s to 50s.

We’ve got to hope for the best here; hope that this flu virus does not mutate into something as virulent, Infectious and deadly as the 1918 flu pandemic, which resulted in more than 100 million dead worldwide, before it is over. But we’ve also got to hope that the mantra of the Johnny-one-note conservatives continue to ring false for more and more Americans.         

I, like most of the rest of us, don’t like paying taxes. But, besides paying for wars of aggression that I personally oppose, taxes pay for police and firemen, roads and bridges, and they help fund safety nets for those who may not be as fortunate as we are.        

And, from time-to-time, money that we send to Washington comes back to us in a preventive measure that may be life saving for millions and therefore worth its weight in gold.

Republished with permission from Monroe Anderson

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Monroe Anderson
Monroe Anderson is a Cyber Columnist and veteran Chicago journalist. A published author, he has worked for magazines, newspapers, television and posts his own political blog. A regular contributor to, Anderson is a member of the Trotter Group, a collective of African American columnists representing publications coast-to-coast and of the AfroSpear, a collective of black bloggers.

Anderson was selected in 2007 to participate in the Kaiser Family Foundation Traveling Media Seminar in South Africa. He and five other journalists, from the U.S. and U.K., visited South Africa for nine days for an in-depth study of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

From February 2006 until July of last year, he was a freelance op-ed page columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. His political commentary ran every Sunday in the newspaper's “Controversy” section, was the editor of Savoy Magazine, editor of N'DIGO - a Chicago weekly publication that has the nation's largest African-American newspaper circulation, former host of Common Ground at CBS2 Chicago and a career journalist for more than three decades working with Dow Jones, Johnson Publishing Company, the Tribune Company, Post-Newsweek and Viacom.

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