Xenophobia Goes Viral

You knew it had to come to this: Conservative radio talk show hosts have decided that the swine flu means it’s OK to act like swine:

Amid swine flu outbreak, racism goes viral – Swine flu-

. . . And Thursday, Boston talk radio host Jay Severin was suspended after calling Mexican immigrants “criminalians” during a discussion of swine flu and saying that emergency rooms had become “essentially condos for Mexicans.”


Swine Flu: Any Chance There’s Good News?

Remember after 9-11? Re3member all those good things we said we were going to do in the world? You know, all that stuff we didn’t do? Well, the swine flu problem we’re facing right now is nowhere near that level of concern just yet – so far, the only people who need to be iced down in this country appear to be our media – but perhaps we can use this moment to do things our last great moment of trial failed to muster from our elected leaders.

We know, for example, that the members of our community affected most gravely will be our children and elderly. If nothing else, perhaps this is a wake up call to get children’s health and senior health initiatives off the ground in this country. Maybe this is the wake up we need to pass comprehensive health care reforms, to make sure that hospitals are prepared and that vital vaccines are always in supply.

Meanwhile, much of the world’s squalor is either created by or antagonized by U.S. corporate interests. Such squalor presents as much of a national security threat as any terrorist cell, when you look at where this flu and others like it are originating from. Clearly, not every fetid sewer is our fault. But just because we don’t deserve the blame for everything does not mean that we can’t get some credit for healing some of the environmental problems that exist around our nation’s foreign operations.

And if you ask a doctor what might help ease the suffering and lessen the potential of flu attacks in poorer parts of the world, they would tell you that fresh drinking water is the key. Just look at the situation in the Mexican village where the first reported case of swine flu hit: they’ve been complaining for months about pig farm waste leeching into their water supplies. If the United States pledged to build a UN coalition to provide clean drinking water to the world, the world would be a remarkably healthier place.

I’m sure there’s more to be done. Right?