WAMC August 16
“The Dengue Election”
I have been thinking a lot about Dengue fever lately. It’s a really nasty disease that carries with it all the pleasures of a very unpleasant rash, exceptionally high fever, headaches, joint pain and depressingly there is still no specific treatment for this aggressive little virus that most Americans have never heard of.
And yet recently as I found myself staring at Center’s for Disease Control’s Map of dengue outbreaks around the world it occurred to me that Americans absolutely need to know more about dengue. Well, let me back up. I was looking at the global dengue map while I was trying to get a handle in my own mind on what this election is about.
Sure, Governor Romney seems to have latched on to the perennial republican charge that the government spends too much- that somehow if government spends less, pulls itself out of debt and the economy everything will just be hunky dory again.
While President Obama, as so common for democrats speaks of protecting the middle class from the elitist policies of his conservative opponents. But elections should have some unifying theme that reflects not memorized party ideology but the reality of the often evolving challenges that affect American voters.
Which is what brought me to that world Dengue outbreak map featured by the Centers for Disease Control I just linked to my Leibo’s World Watch website for interested listeners, a fascinating global map of the especially nasty and still unfamiliar dengue fever, a map that shows the continental United States almost dengue free even as the disease hugs the northern borders of Mexico like an army in preparation for the call to advance.
A call that is inching closer and forward toward that border as our prolific burning of fossil fuels raises the heat over the United States, bringing on massively greater storms in some areas; drought in others, turning as we have just learned July 2012 into the hottest month in American history.
While can you believe it, 78% of the Continental United States is experiencing drought conditions. Sure drought and more powerful storms tend to get the headlines, as they damage coastal areas and raise food prices.
But one of the most frightening aspects of a dramatically changing climate is the spread on invasive species tropical diseases if you will that stayed away from us because, well, we were not in the topics but have now started moving north as the tropics themselves shift.
Bringing me to what may be a bit negative but certainly should be the overriding theme to this election and marks a very clear difference between the two parties, on one hand a political party, the republicans still in denial about Climate Change all the while unwilling to fight to get everyone affordable health care.
And the other, the democrats, a party deeply committed to a conversion toward green energy and away from climate changing fossil fuels all the while working even more dramatically to make sure each of us has proper health care because the way things are going lately, given that army of dengue virus hovering on our southern border we are all going to need that better health care system president Obama has spent so much energy putting together.
Something to think seriously about as we face the realities of America’s upcoming Dengue Election