I’m going to bet that if you’re breathing, you’ve heard about the swine flu. I’m also willing to bet that you had never heard of it until today. I heard about it for the first time over the weekend. The Center for Disease Control says:
The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Wha? Huh? Look, I don’t want to discount or make light of this as I’m sure it’s miserable. That said, come on! I’ve had the flu many times in my life and I’m sure I’ll have it many more. Do these symptoms warrant surgical masks? Do we need everybody on the news freaking out like the black plague has returned? Am I to believe that the body cart will make a triumphant comeback along with the “bring out your dead” guys? Remember the bird flu? Remember how the media got freaked out and how it never came? Listen, if I get swine flu, I’ll make sure to tell you how awful it is. Again, I don’t want to make light of it, but is all the hysteria necessary?
There was some fun to come out of the swine flu news of the day. First, Andrew T. favorite, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) preemptively asked for 37k+ doses of flu medicine from the CDC. On the surface, I applaud the Governor thinking ahead, especially since they share a border with Mexico. I just find it a bit ironic that he would go to a federal agency asking for aid after he spent the better part of the last week and a half talking about seceding from the Union. Having said that, I’m not going to go after the guy today. It’s good that he’s thinking about the people of his state, as opposed to recent, Jerk Store actions.
The second politician to get bitten by the swine flu is Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). During the stimulus vote, Sen. Collins was one of three moderate Republicans who voted for it. She also managed to strip the stimulus of $870 million in pandemic preparedness because it wasn’t “simulative” and was happy to tell the world about it. Again, to be fair, I understand this line of thinking. You know, it’s not creating jobs and it’s a lot of money and we don’t have any pandemic on the horizon, so let’s cut it and save the money. If it weren’t for swine flu, we wouldn’t be talking about this. But there is swine flu and we are talking about this, so, oops.
And that, my friends, is my point. If it weren’t for the swine flu, Rick Perry would still be a jerk stain playing politics with unemployment funds and talking smack about secession. Sen. Collins could still brag about how she saved almost a billion dollars by cutting pandemic preparations. Instead, Rick Perry shows some humanity and Sen. Collins is trying to defend all the money she saved. I’m not attacking these people. I just want to share the irony.
Now, go wash your hands and get a mask. I don’t want you getting sick!