In the Age of Ebola, Is America Really Going to Elect the 'Government Shutdown Party'?

Oh, sure, it is great to vent one's spleen by casting a "no" ballot. After all, who does not enjoy a good rant?

But, we are, for now, in the age of Ebola.

There is no cause to panic (except if you want to scare people to win elections).

Why? Because it is being contained... thanks to the help and expertise of the government (yikes!) of the United States. Not perfect (see below), but contained.

But, shutdown the government in the age of Ebola, and then, yes, panic would not have been an irrational response.

Yet, it appears as if the American people are willing to entrust their health and safety to the only party in history that has shutdown the U.S. government, and seems not to be able to kick the habit.

The Republicans are hostile to the very existence of government. They never read the sentence in the Declaration of Independence that follows, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" that begins "to secure these rights governments are instituted among men..."

Cliven Bundy, who owes the American people over $1 million because he grazed his cattle on our lands, is their hero. Why? Because he refuses to recognize the existence of the federal government.

Republicans shut down the government under President Clinton, and they have shut down the government twice under President Obama.

Now, they are promising to do it again... and again... and again.

So, now, my fellow Americans, are you in the age of ebola, seriously going to vote for a party whose brand, by their own choosing, is hostility to the government of the United States?

Ebola is symptomatic of the problem with shrinking government by ignoring our common needs. Even "make-the-federal-government-irrelevant-in-your-lives" Rick Perry (R/TP-TX) reached out to the federal government for help with Ebola.

Education, roads, bridges, electric grid? Do we really want to shrink government so it cannot address our common needs?

Republicans are now demanding more government regulation. Hmmm... I thought they believed government regulations made everything worse.

Ebola? Just "shift funds" to address it, and in a few years a different crisis emerges that "you should have known about before."

For the record, I do not applaud the government's initial effort in combating the Ebola crisis, nor, for that matter, the private enterprise hospital in Dallas.

When I was a medical resident, we had a case of a different but equally lethal, hemorrhagic virus. No one panicked. No one was exposed. I was alerted to the case because he was being admitted to my team, the chief of infectious disease told me what to do and phoned the CDC who came within a day with appropriate gowns and gloves and waste disposal materials, and took the patient, properly protected, to a more suitable facility.

How it is that the Dallas Hospital did not know this is baffling. How it is that the CDC was not on top of it with a team of experts is equally baffling. In an "accountable" world, both the Dallas Hospital and the CDC would fire responsible parties.

But, that is for future discussions.

The CDC now seems to have it right.

Any potential epidemic requires expert, coordinated responses. Even if those responses are inadequate at the outset, as they seem to have been in this case, and even if the private hospital had handled it properly, as it did not in this case, the only means of preventing an epidemic is effective government.

Shutdown government will not work. Creating artificial crises so that we are discussing how to avoid shutting down government is not the way to contain an epidemic, nor to prepare for the next one.

Yet, in Congressional race after Congressional race, and in many Senate races, the American people appear to be on the brink of electing the very people who shut down government time and time again, and bring the country to edge of default.

Moreover, astonishingly, they promise to do it again. They will do it once after the mid-terms. Again whenever the continuing resolution they eventually pass in the lame-duck expires. And, they will bring us to the edge of default, if not default itself, in March.

Take the Colorado Senate race. From what is reported, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) is neck-and-neck with Tea Party favorite Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO).

Are you Coloradans serious? You are going to trust your health and the health of your family and children to the Tea Party?

Cory Gardner voted to shut down the government twice. He voted to bring the United States to the very brink of default, causing the first downgrade of our debt in our entire history. To escape the default, we were visited with the lethal "sequester virus" that chopped money from biological preparedness programs.

And, in an early Republican budget, Gardner cut funds from tornado, earthquake, tsunami, and other natural disaster warning programs.

Coloradans, really. You are going to elect this nonsense to the United States Senate? You really want the Senate discussing whether, how, if, what part, of the government to shut down when we are facing Ebola? Or the next crisis?


Or, Iowans? Bruce Braley (D-IA) may not be the world's most dynamic personality, but he did not vote to shut down the government, and he did not vote to bring the United States to the edge of default. His opponent, Joni Ernst (TP/R-IA) comes right out of tea party central, a movement dedicated to preventing the United States government from acting effectively on anything, but who was taught to seem "nice" to win the election.

Are you seriously considering sending this woman to the United States Senate for the sole purpose of castrating our own government, rather than trying to bolster it, at a time of Ebola?

Or, Kentuckians? You have a choice between Alison Lundergran Grimes (D-KY), a fresh face and a fresh beginning in Washington DC, or the smirking, manipulative Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who has, among other things, just told his billionaire owners that he will shut down the government so that Wall Street does not have to pay consumers for fraud.

In the age of Ebola, he will compromise not only your pocketbook but your life just to serve his Wall Street masters.

Can you trust him to provide an effective government to keep you as safe as humanly possible from epidemics and other natural disasters?

The CDC now seems to have it right. There will be no widespread breakout of Ebola in the United States.

But only because, for now, we have an effective, functioning federal government. If the American people elect the party of habitual government shut-downs, and debt default brinkmanship, all bets are off.