It is awkward fact of life. Whenever we engage in a complex activity, we will make mistakes. When we go to our doctor or dentist, our doctor or dentist will make mistakes. When we buy a home or a car, we will find flaws in that home or car. When we drive, we accept the risk of an accident, one that even we as the driver might make. We may not like the idea, but due to a lapse of attention or circumstances we did not properly anticipate, we could accidentally kill someone. Therefore, when we err, we should try to do so on the side of caution.
The story is in the headlines daily. The key word is “Ebola.” The argument is over whether enough is being done. Some demand that we quarantine those nations where the disease is epidemic. Others have their own ideas.
Here are a couple of stories typical of the day.
- How the microscopic Ebola virus kills thousands (www.washingtonpost.com) – This story attempts to calm us more panicky souls. So it begins.
The fear of Ebola has spread faster in America than the virus itself. Ebola has infected the American psyche, forcing us to do risk analysis of a pathogen we know little about. This is different from the flu scares of recent years, because this virus is novel here, and we have no cultural memory of what we are supposed to do, or think, or believe, when Ebola is on the loose.
- CHARLES: Ebola: do the math, Mr. President (http://www.washingtontimes.com) – This editorial, on the other hand, urges action. So it begins.
Big facts and basic math, tell the whole story. We have only begun to see the potential effects of Ebola nationwide. We still have a chance to get this right, but the President needs to get active.
I have spent this last weekend with family, one of my children, her husband, and my grandchildren. I do not wish to experience the horror of seeing them sick with a deadly disease, and I consider myself blessed to live in a nation with the knowledge and the wealth to keep the dangerous diseases that so afflicted our ancestors at bay. Do we have the same ability to control the spread of the Ebola virus? I don’t know, and the experts seem uncertain. Therefore, I am one of those souls feeling the panic and baffled.
Baffled. Why? Here we have an instance where our leaders have clearly not erred on the side of caution. More and more often our leaders have made decisions designed to further their own personal interests instead of the good of our people, but their reaction to the potential spread of the Ebola virus has been especially revealing. What makes them think they will be immune? What makes them think members of their families will not get the disease? Is it pride that keeps them from admitting their humanity and erring on the side of caution? I wish I knew, but I find it difficult to have confidence in leaders who do not exercise sufficient caution with the lives of others.
Meanwhile, our nation continues to slowly unravel.