stake (n.2) “that which is placed at hazard,” 1530s, from stake (v.). Perhaps literally “that which is put up,” from notion of “post on which a gambling wager was placed,” though OED points out there is “no evidence of the existence of such a custom.” Weekley suggests “there is a tinge of the burning or baiting metaphor” in this usage. Hence, “an interest, something to gain or lose” (1784). Plural stakes, “sum of money to be won in a (horse) race,” first recorded 1690s (compare sweepstakes). To have a stake in is recorded from 1784.
Language is complicated matter. With so many words and variations in their meanings, we don’t communicate with each other well. When politics takes over, the ratio of noise to data increases. Then we war with words, battling over their meaning, and we risk entirely failing to communicate. Then instead of discussing issues we trade accusations, calling each other names.
Consider the controversy over quarantining people coming or returning from the nations in west Africa where the Ebola virus is epidemic. What is the meaning of the word “scientific”? On one side with have people claiming the experts, bureaucrats from the Center for Disease Control, are on their side. Therefore, the “science” is on their side. On the other side we have people examining the science. These wish to make sense of the requirement quarantine military personnel, who are not supposed to be treating Ebola patients, whereas we need not take any serious precautions with medical personnel who have been treating Ebola patients.
Have doctors and nurses now become part of our new overlord class? Has the day come when it is appropriate to regard military personnel as the most untrustworthy scum of the earth? Or our some politicians just determined find any excuse to pit us against each other?
How easy is Ebola to catch? In spite of their precautions, why have doctors and nurses caught it? Perhaps that has to do with what the CDC means by airborne. Since Delegate Bob Marshall sent out an email on this subject today, why not let him explain?
Because Ebola can be spread by water droplets (generated by a sneeze or cough), according to a flyer which was compiled by the CDC, I think it is particularly important that Congress immediately act to restrict travel of those who live in or have visited Ebola-affected areas until Ebola has been eliminated.
Since the President has refused to act, Congress must not be afraid to use its authority to protect the safety of the nurses and doctors, especially those in the ER’s, our dedicated first responders, other hospital patients who could be inadvertently exposed to Ebola, and everyone who may come in contact with someone infected with Ebola who may or may not recognize their symptoms at the time.
I want you to have information to keep you and your friends and relatives safe. Common sense dictates that temporarily preventing potential Ebola carriers into the country until Ebola has been contained is the most effective means to achieve this goal. We all greatly admire the doctors and other volunteers who have risked their lives to treat those suffering from this horrible disease, but it shows no less respect to insist that these public servants be prevented from contact with others during at least a 21-day quarantine period.
Until travel is restricted, we must depend on time consuming, expensive, less than reliable tracking of symptoms which may or may not be present in an Ebola carrier, exposed contacts, and their contacts. Unless “we the people” demand action from our elected leaders, nothing will change. Please call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121, ask to be collected with your two Senators and Congressman, or find your representatives and demand that they act to protect us!
Thank you for your help.
With respect to the Ebola virus, what is at stake? Since we do not know much about the disease, we can only guess what it might do. However, we do know some viruses have proven very resistant to our ability to suppress them. Hence the cold is common, and the flu arrives every winter. Could Ebola visit us so frequently and with even more severe consequences? When we have leaders so intent upon politicizing science, using words to club their opponents, who knows?