Readers React: Connecting Ebola panic and Democrats’ election defeat

Dr. Craig Spencer leaves Bellevue Hospital
Dr. Craig Spencer, who was diagnosed with Ebola in New York City last month, greets some of the nurses who helped him to recovery at a news conference at New York’s Bellevue Hospital after being declared free of the disease on Nov. 11.
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Some of our conservative readers over the last few years have blamed Republican election losses partly on voter fraud. With Democrats defeated last week, several liberal readers have identified a similarly dubious villain: Ebola.

For several weeks before the election, the Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa and a few cases of the disease in the United States dominated the discussion among our letter writers, many of whom had less to say about the virus and the government’s response to it than they did about the public’s panic.

Now, with the U.S. declared Ebola-free, some readers say we’re still living with lingering effects — in the form of an unpopular president, a new GOP majority in the Senate and an enlarged Republican House caucus.

Stevens Weller III of Encinitas blames right-wing media for the Ebola panic:


The Ebola panic mysteriously subsided the day after the election, but The Times can’t fathom why. Perhaps it should consider the question from the other direction: Why, despite constant assurances from leading medical professionals, did the panic grow to such proportions in the first place?

It is obvious to everyone I know that the talking heads of the right-wing media whipped up the panic — blaming President Obama, of course — using it as just another scary story to energize their easily panicked base going into the midterm election. Mission accomplished.

Here’s a headline we’ll never see: “Cool-headed President Obama prevents American Ebola epidemic without a surgeon general.” The story would go on to explain how the Republicans have held up the president’s surgeon general appointment and other ways they have weakened our government’s ability to respond to epidemics and other health emergencies.

It won’t change the disastrous results of the recent elections, but it would add some practical perspective to what has been happening in Washington since the Republicans decided to shut down the government.


Los Angeles resident Timothy Wurtz rewrites The Times’ headline:

Your headline should have been, “After election, U.S. free of Ebola panic.”

Jim Conway of Woodland Hills says Obama deserves more credit:

Does Obama get any recognition for an Ebola-free United States? How about giving credit to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his brilliant idea to “reward” healthcare workers with a quarantine?

Obama’s credit goes into the same bucket as a 5.8% unemployment rate, a Dow Jones mark of more than 17,000, and 8 million more Americans with health insurance. The price of gas in my neighborhood is $3.09 per gallon. This week, Obama took steps to keep “our” Internet free.

Republicans have given us words — mostly false words.

I think the late Samuel Johnson put it best: “I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of Earth, and that things are the sons of heaven.”

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