Doctor, Doctor help me please, I know you’ll understand
There’s a time device inside of me, I’m a self-destructin’ man
There’s a Red, under my bed
And there’s a little green man in my head
And he said, “you’re not goin’ crazy, you’re just a bit sad
‘Cause there’s a man in ya, gnawin’ ya, tearin’ ya into two.”
– Destroyer, The Kinks, 1981
Give the People Want They Want
If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
We Americans sure are a fearful people, aren’t we?
We’re always terrified of something.
If there’s one thing that epitomizes the American spirit, it’s fear.
We’re always pissing our collective pants over something. We’re always terrified of one boogeyman or another. We live in a perpetual state of constant pants wetting, we Americans.
We’re addicted to it. Fear. We just can’t get enough of being afraid.
It’s the emotion that defines modern America, fear. Knee knocking, spine tingled, sphincter loosening, pants wetting fear.
When we don’t have something to be afraid of, we make something up.
We’re afraid of enemies foreign and domestic and everything in between. Clinical paranoia has got nothing on us as a nation, we see enemies everywhere. We’re afraid we’ll get invaded. We’re afraid we’re being invaded right now. Hell, we’re afraid we’ve already been invaded. We’re afraid of the Chinese and the Russians and Mexico. We’re afraid of foreigners and we’re afraid of our neighbors. We’re afraid of conservatives and we’re afraid of liberals. We’re afraid of the young and we’re afraid of the old, we’re afraid of the rich and we’re utterly terrified by the poor. We’re afraid of terrorism and we’re afraid to fly and we’re afraid of the TSA. We’re afraid of Nazis, and communists, and European style socialism. We’re afraid of wind turbines and fracking and solar panels and electric cars, we’re desperately afraid somebody is going to come take away our giant trucks, and we’re afraid we’re going to run out of oil. We’re afraid to go to the store unarmed and we’re afraid of people with guns, we’re afraid we don’t have enough guns and we’re afraid that we might have too many. We’re afraid of the white cops and brown gangbangers and the yellow horde. We’re afraid of kids with saggy pants and we’re afraid of that rock & roll music and we’re afraid of the establishment. We’re afraid the government isn’t doing enough to keep us safe and we’re afraid the government is going to do too much. We’re afraid our kids are uneducated idiots and we’re afraid of education. We’re afraid of disease and we’re afraid of vaccines. We’re afraid of religion and we’re afraid of evolution and we’re afraid of climate change and we’re afraid of industrial disease.
We’re afraid of death and we’re afraid of taxes.
We’re afraid of our past, and we’re afraid of the present, and we’re utterly terrified of the future.
Last week it was the Islamic State.
The week before it was … something. I forget. IRS? Benghazi? FEMA death camps? Illegal immigration? The Ukraine? The National Debt, the Deficit? Gay Marriage? The Arab Spring? Chemtrails? 2012? Fluoridation? The Rapture? Bird Flu? Missing airliners? Obama? Bush? The Reds? I’m afraid I just can’t remember any more, we’ve been afraid for so long that it all just runs together.
What it comes down to is that last week we were afraid of this week and this week we’re afraid of last week.
And now? Today? Today we’re afraid of Ebola.
There’s an old military adage popularized by Herman Wouk’s classic tale of paranoia and fear, The Caine Mutiny. And it goes like this:
When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!
That should be America’s motto.
E pluribus unum? Out of many, one? Obviously we don’t believe in that, do we?
No we don’t. Out of many one? Why that just smacks of things we’re afraid of, socialism and communists and illegal immigration. In fact, that E pluribus unum stuff just plain terrifies us, doesn’t it?
So we replaced it with In God We Trust.
But that’s complete bullshit too, isn’t it?
And In God We Trust? Trust? In God? Don’t make me snort chocolate milk through my nose.
If there’s one thing we don’t trust, it’s God. God has serious anger issues. That crazy bastard once wiped out the entire world in a fit of pique, right? And that’s the guy you trust? Really? Hell, the most pious believer doesn’t really trust God, does he? If anything, that’s what believers fear most, their God. They’re terrified he’s going to do something crazy. That’s the defining criteria of religion, don’t make God angry. Lightning bolts and poison toads from the sky. Plague. Flood. Famine. Rivers of blood. That’s what they tell us, isn’t it? Oh, you’d better not make God mad, or he’ll smite us all. For them, God is like a Mafia protection racket, better pay up and be respectful while you’re doing it, or else God will burn your house down and cast you into the pit.
Yeah, let’s trust that guy.
And it’s pretty obvious that religious Americans really don’t trust their God to keep them safe, from Ebola or terrorists or anything else, otherwise they wouldn’t go around armed and demanding that we seal our borders. Q.E.D, Folks, just saying.
No, if there’s any motto that describes America today, it’s Herman Wouk: Run in circles, scream and shout.
Be afraid, be very very afraid.
We should put that on the money.
We demand fear as our right, we Americans.
Over the last month, we’ve been talking about Ebola on my Facebook page a lot. Now, the thousands of people who make up my Facebook audience are, as a general rule, a reasonable and fairly sane bunch of people – this isn’t an accident, I’m careful who I let into my playground. But a month ago when I first mentioned the disease and suggested that compared to measles and the flu and AIDS/HIV, Ebola wasn’t exactly something Americans should be panicking over, I had to unfriend a number of folks who became obnoxious and almost literally demanded that I wasn’t afraid enough to suit them. A week ago when I said that, as an American, you’re far more likely to trip over your cat and take a fatal header down the stairs than you are of dying from Ebola, the same thing happened. And, yesterday, when I again pointed out that, especially as an American, you’re a whole lot more likely to die from random gun violence at the mall than you are of contracting Ebola, I immediately started getting letters from frightened angry people, some hoping I get the disease and die a slow painful death, presumably so that they can feel justified in their pants-wetting fear, and many again telling me that I need to be afraid of the coming plague. Many of the messages were outraged that I had the effrontery to counsel calm and reason instead of fear and panic. Because not being terrified is just plain unAmerican.
And it’s not just me, is it?
That’s one of the chief complaints about Obama. How dare the president be calm and rational? How dare he tell Americans not to panic?
“That’s a paradox of a president in a crisis,” says Jeremy Mayer, a political scientist at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “If he seems to be taking it too seriously, he’ll encourage a panic. But if he doesn’t take it seriously enough, he’s seen as lackadaisical.”
That’s the complaint, Obama isn’t emotional enough. He approaches a crisis like a law professor, calm, rational, let’s solve the problem. But, we don’t want that,we want an angry emotional rant about fear. We want the President to declare war! Yes! War On Ebola! That’s what we Americans want, another war! You’re either with us or against us! Stand the Navy out to sea, launch the stealth bombers, open the missile silos! To the Bunkers, America! We start bombing at dawn!
First we were afraid that Obama wasn’t going to appoint an “Ebola Czar.” Now we’re afraid that he did.
No matter what, we’re determined to be afraid. Panic, it’s our right as Americans, it doesn’t really matter what Obama says or does, Americans are determined to panic no matter what.
We’re conditioned to it. When the bell rings, we drool.
In fact, if Obama tells you there’s no reason to panic, that’s a reason to panic!
“The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from Ebola infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our ‘borders.’ Act fast!” screamed Donald Trump.
Nations have done this in the past, restricted travel. Quarantine. It doesn’t work. Viruses don’t care about borders.
Hiding from the disease won’t cure it.
And really? You’re listening to Donald Trump? About disease? Okay, sure, if he was maybe talking about catching a case of the Clap, but Ebola? C’mon.
“Reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” worries Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey.
There are no, repeat no, cases of Ebola crossing the border in such a manner. None. The only “reports” of such are made up fever dreams manufactured whole cloth by those who profit from peddling fear to a terrified America. In fact, due to the nature of the disease and the process of illegal immigration itself, it would be almost impossible for someone infected with Ebola to enter the US in this way.
But then, a Southern Conservative painting brown people from Central America as dirty diseased vermin isn’t really anything new, is it?
Ebola just gives the old fearful racism a convenient cover.
“I don’t know, but I think this Ebola epidemic is a form of population control. Shit is getting crazy bruh,” tweeted rapper Chris Brown.
I don’t know. But I’m afraid anyway. I don’t know. But I’m sure they’re coming to get us. I don’t know. I don’t know. But I’m scared, it’s getting crazy!
But then again, maybe Brown has a point:
That’s Todd Kincannon, former head of South Carolina’s GOP, rabid pro-lifer, and morally superior right-wing God-warrior.
Kill ‘em all, let God sort it out. Ain’t nothing more American than that kind of compassionate conservatism, eh?
Sorry about the napalm, Brown People, but we’ve got to look out for ourselves. You know how it is.
All the usual pundits, from Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck to Anne Coulter to Michael Savage have declared their firm belief that President Obama is going to deliberately infect the United States with Ebola in order to do … something something terrible death camps kill Whitey revenge something something OH NOES! They’re not alone, Larry Klayman, conservative nutbar extraordinaire, filed a lawsuit against President Obama last week for “providing material support and aid to international terrorism and facilitating terrorism” by not implementing a travel ban on people from countries facing an Ebola outbreak. Klayman is the non-veteran who led the “Million Veteran March” to the White House last year under the banner of the Confederate Battle Flag and demanded Obama’s surrender and trial by a self-appointed Citizen’s Grand Jury for something something terrible death camps kill Whitey revenge something something.
If you’re terrified of being ebolanated, look around, these are the people you’re standing with.
Think about it.
You can disagree with the President, but if you believe even slightly that Obama is planning on infecting white people with Ebola in revenge for slavery so he can herd them into FEMA camps and turn America into Africa then you. Are. Fucking. Crazy. You’re beyond booger eating stupid. You are a drooling racist moron so eaten up with fear that you’ve lost all ability to reason. If you give people like Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Klayman, or the sorry excuse for what passes as news media nowadays any credence whatsoever, then you are nuts. You’re a paranoid frightened little pants wetter who can’t seem to understand that these people are literally fear-mongers in that they profit hugely from making you afraid, making America afraid. Fear. Paranoia. That’s their stock in trade. If you weren’t afraid, these people would have to get real jobs.
Here’s what it comes down to, Folks, this right here: There is always going to be some crisis. Always.
There is always going to be some crisis. That’s the nature of the world.
There are always challenges to face.
There are always puzzles to solve.
There are always problems to overcome. And when you solve them, there will be another, and another, and another. Forever.
That’s the nature of life.
The test of character is how you face those problems.
The true test of character, for people, for nations, for civilization itself, is how you rise to the occasion.
Ebola isn’t the end of the world.
Ebola isn’t even an actual crisis, at least it doesn’t have to be.
Ebola is just another problem to solve. And when we solve, there will be another disease. And another after that. There are a million things that may kill us, that’s just how it is.
We’ve faced far worse diseases, far worse problems, far worse threats, and we have risen to far greater challenges.
We are the United States of America. We’re Canada. We’re the United Kingdom. We’re France. We’re Germany. We’re Spain. We’re Mexico. We’re Russia.
We’re ten thousand years of scientific advance.
We’re the human race.
We are the species that makes other species extinct.
And it’s about time we remembered that.
You shouldn’t be afraid of Ebola, Ebola should be afraid of us.
We can beat Ebola.
And we will.
We can wipe it from the face of the earth, just like polio and small pox – diseases I’ll remind you that once killed far, far, far more people than Ebola ever has. Those diseases are gone, or beaten into submission, we remain.
In this regard Ebola is a metaphor for larger, far more important things.
We can solve all the problems we face, disease, poverty, food, energy, all of it. And we don’t need divine intervention to do it.
We just have to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
We just have to stop being afraid all of the time.
Silly boy ya’ self-destroyer!
Paranoia, the destroyer!
Self-destroyer, wreck your health
Destroy friends, destroy yourself
The time device of self-destruction
Light the fuse and start eruption
(Yea, it goes like this, here it goes)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(Here’s to paranoia)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(Hey hey, here it goes)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(And it goes like this)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(And it goes like THIS!)