The Rude Pundit's gotta admit it: when he walked outside his place in the New York City area this morning, he was kind of pissed that it wasn't a raging hellscape of bleeding-eyed zombies and streets full of corpses. He felt like he was promised at least that. Not even an overturned car or garbage can fire, and that ain't atypical around this neighborhood. Nothing. Just parting clouds, man, and the sun coming through for the first time in a few days.
The subways are crowded. The streets are crowded. The restaurants are crowded. There's not even extra surgical mask-wearing going on.
Life is always a battle, you know, between the existential dread that, someday, something is gonna do you in and the affirming effort of not allowing that to define what you do every day.
All around the country, we're being watched up here, even more closely than usual. There's a good number of craven conservatives who desperately want us to freak out. They want us to panic. They hope we panic. They're begging us to. They want to puncture what they see as our pretension, that "we're better than you" image that we have when, in reality, every place has it. But because, unlike Texas, we're pretty liberal, the conservative ghouls want us to suffer, as if to prove us wrong about caring about people different than us.
So, sure, a doctor who treated patients in Guinea came home to the city. And, yes, he has Ebola. And, yes, he rode the trains and went bowling, probably had sex with his girlfriend, even. If you are someone who wants a travel ban on people from West Africa, are you saying that we should have just left him in Guinea, that we should leave Americans there?
Within 12 hours of this news, we got word that Nina Pham, the nurse who got Ebola treating the first Ebola patient in Dallas, is leaving the hospital, just fine. And by April, we could start having mass vaccinations of populations who are at risk for Ebola. Medicine and science. Who would have thought.
The Rude Pundit had a conversation today with a friend who lives in the South. She badly wants to leave, wants to move up here, to the Northeast. "You know what it is?" she said. "I just can't stand the Jesus crap anymore."
"I know," the Rude Pundit responded. "And it's like it's gotten worse in the last few years."
You could have heard her nodding through the phone. "It definitely has. You can't go anywhere without someone pushing Jesus at you. And they expect everyone to think the way they do."
He spoke to another friend sub-Mason-Dixon and that one told the Rude Pundit, "I got so pissed off at my dentist's office. In the waiting room, they were playing Christian music. I shouldn't have to hear that shit. I told the dentist, 'You know I can't come here anymore.' He knew and understood, but the women working the front, they were just confused that I didn't like it."
They're not homogenous down there. There's a lot of people in the South just like the Rude Pundit's friends. And we're not homogenous up here. We are filthy with religion, too.
But here's the difference, the reason that we're not freaking out. Our lawmakers, for the most part, know that science, not Jesus, shows us we shouldn't freak out. The people, for the most part, think that, too (and, besides, it's a helluva lot easier to go about your daily routine than change it up). So the pressure will be on us to panic. People who profit from such things will attempt to assure that it does. And maybe you will be able to wipe the smirk off our smug faces as we board our windows after another half dozen cases.
Until then, the Rude Pundit's got plans that involve being in crowded spaces. He'll be fine. It's the weekend and the sun is out at last.