It seems like every couple of years Mexico is breeding some dangerous epidemic that will spread into the United States and threaten millions of people.
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As I examine the calendar and election years in the United States I begin to see a reoccurring theme, pending disaster for Americans coming from the southern border, calls for a 2000 mile wall, and rounding up millions of Mexicans, or anyone who looks Mexican, and shipping them south of the border, all election year headlines. The reasons include Ebola, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, and ISIS.
After elections are over, the love-fest begins again with Mexico. We all bask in the greatness of this country until the next threat, during an election year, becomes red meat for politicians and the media. We know the cycle all too well; we have lived through the bi-annual over-dramatization and sensationalism for nearly three decades with Mexico being the fall-guy for American politicians.
This year, an election year for Americans, Mexico is once again the center of attention for politicians. Talking points: Ebola and ISIS. Remember earlier the talking point was thousands of migrants from South America being escorted to the border with Mexico’s blessing. Once Mexico proved that the flow of migrants had diminished greatly, the Ebola and ISIS threat became the new headlines.
While there has not been any recorded case of Ebola in Mexico, it’s a leading fear for Americans. The risk of Ebola crossing the border of Mexico is an irrational fear only supported by politicians without the Center for Disease Control (CDC) even flinching at the absurdity of it all.
Ebola is not an airborne disease, and more people die each year from the common flu. The virus is passed from human to human through bodily fluids, such as sexual contact, needle sharing, and as some scientists have suggested, having an infected person spit in your eye could put you at a minimal risk. The spread of the Ebola virus is very similar to the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, or blood-born diseases. While the disease is a serious medical issue, its story plays out more like a horror film than reality, which is why it’s such an easy story to sell.
The Ebola disease is common in West Africa where “Bushmeat” is a common diet staple. Bushmeat is what most Americans would call “road kill,” consisting of dead possums, porcupine, and other wild animals found on the side of the road or hunted as “wild game”. The most common animal found to carry the disease is the Fruit Bat; a culinary delight in West Africa grilled and served with a spicy sauce. Yummy. Your chance of being infected with Ebola is decreased by 99.9% by avoiding the digestion of Fruit Bats. West African Ebola has reached epidemic proportions because of diet, not human to human transmission. The cases of human to human transmission comes from poor conditions in medical facilities, conditions less likely in the western-world.
Don’t worry; there is only a .000000000009% chance that you can become infected on an airplane, even when sitting next to someone carrying the disease. Just don’t share someone’s lunch coming from West Africa and you are likely to have a safe and disease free vacation.
This year also brings the fear of terrorists training in Mexico crossing the border and launching attacks on border towns. Of course the only proof of such an activity is anonymous sources and one really bad photoshopped image of ISIS members training with a poorly photoshopped backdrop of a small Mexican town.
One would believe that if the US was capturing terrorists at the border it would be an indication that the US border is secure, however the argument by these story tellers is that the borders are not secure and there is a need for a 2,000 mile wall to protect America. The ISIS being captured is being played in the media as bad news for America. While most levelheaded people understand that anonymous sources and changing stories doesn’t support anything more than rumor, there is still a significant part of the population who cannot explain why capturing terrorists is bad news. Logic says that it’s a great message to send to terrorists, try to enter the USA at the Mexican border and you will be caught. There has not been any story of a terrorist being arrested outside of the border patrol jurisdiction. So, let’s pretend terrorists are being arrested at the US border, now what is your reaction? Hopefully relief and a feeling of being secure.
Now, one possibility if you believe all the election year hype, perhaps terrorists who are infected with the Ebola virus are planning to cross the border and randomly spit in people’s eyes, now that could be a serious terrorist threat and a threat that could cause the spread of the virus.
Until that unlikely event occurs, we can only look at Ebola and ISIS being the same threat to the population as the bird flu and swine flu.
It’s important to remember that politicians around the world win votes by terrorizing their citizens and making them feel like they need to be protected by their government. Politicians don’t win elections because the citizens are happy in their utopia, and if they are, it’s a politicians job to break that calm, peaceful, content, feeling to win votes.
Enjoy your vacation in Mexico, south of the border and Ebola free.
* These are the opinions of the writer and may not reflect the opinions of Vallarta Daily as a journalistic source for news. These opinions do not impact the stories chosen for publication.