By Rick Saunders
Well, if you didn’t have any concerns about the spread of swine flu in this nation as a consequence of Department of Homeland Security flack Janet “It’s-H1N1, Not-Swine-Flu” Napolitano’s decision to keep the border open to travelers from Mexico–including those who may have swine flu symptoms coming here for treatment–don’t watch her Thursday press conference.
On second thought, gulp down a bunch of super-strength Tums, then go ahead and take a gander. It’s nothing short of amazing. Her performances in these press briefings give new meaning to the term “semantic gymnastics.”
Then, consider how the Customs and Border “Protection” (CBP) folks in DHS disclose, on their Web site, this particular gem:
CBP officers and Border Patrol agents are responding to guidance from health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are monitoring the health of incoming travelers and taking all appropriate precautions. CBP collaborates with CDC and local health officials to assess potential threats, including referring a person with [swine flu] symptoms to a CDC quarantine station or a local public health official for evaluation.
After allowing persons into the country traveling from swine flu ground zero–Mexico–the feds are now referring people to a CDC “quarantine” station? And what happens there? Well, according to Napolitano, a screening process takes place and most people are “cleared” within a couple of minutes. That’s lovely. A mere couple of minutes to assess whether a pandemic virus exists in the subject? It probably goes something like this:
[English translation of Spanish CDC/DHS "screening"]
CBP Agent: “Ma’am, you don’t look so good. You just coughed and you look pale. Are you feeling okay?”
Juanita from Mexico City: “Oh, yes, I’m okay. I just have a bit of a cold. No fever. Trust me, I’m fine, really.”
CBP Agent: “And your son there, Pablo Juan Diablo Montoya Napolitano? He looks like he’s under the weather, too. Is he okay?”
Juanita: “Oh sure, he’s fine too. He’s just waking up from the flight here. Really.”
CBP Agent: “Okay then. Adios. You’re outta here. Have a nice visit. Next!“
A hypothetical scenario, of course, but certainly on par which anything else the federal government does, right? Don’t you feel safer already?
On the other hand, if in fact a person being screened admits to feeling sick, what happens? Is that person denied entry into the country? Fools! Of COURSE not. Instead, that person is referred to a “local health official for evaluation.” That means, of course, that if he or she is diagnosed as having the flu, he or she will likely be given–at taxpayer expense, of course–the full panoply of medical services available. In the case of our little hypothetical, that would include Juan Pablo Diablo Montoya Napolitano, too. This is, after all, somehow the Republicans’ fault, isn’t it? That being the case, who cares about the cost?
Now, if this scenario is repeated, say, twenty . . . or two hundred . . . or two thousand . . . or twenty thousand more times in the next few months, what we will have is a government and government system not controlling the spread of the disease into this country but rather the invitation of the disease into LAX, O’Hare, SeaTac, DFW, Hartsfield, Logan, Kennedy, Reagan National, or any other American airport. And all because, in Napolitano’s view (based, of course, on the opinions of “expert epidemiologists”) that, since the disease is “already here,” it makes no sense to close the borders. To use Napolitano’s lame analogy, it’s like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.
No, it isn’t: a horse leaving a barn is quite unlike hundreds if not thousands of horses being invited and herded into the barn, many of which equines might have unpleasant diseases. To use an analogy with which the current administration might be more familiar, it is as if they are saying that gays can stop practicing safe “relations” because HIV and AIDS are already here. Nonsense.
The folks in charge at DHS are now, literally, placing their concerns for political correctness ahead of offending Mexico and Hispanics in general, and above the health and safety of the citizens of this nation. But then again, when the motto of this administration is “never let a crisis go to waste,” did you expect anything different?
Of course the jury is still out as to just how devastating this variation of influenza can be. It’s still early. However, even if this is just a test of our federal government’s response to such a concern, all Americans should be concerned about their priorities.
Rick Saunders is a freelance writer who splits his time between endeavors in southern California and the American southwest. He began writing for America’s Right in December 2008. Jeff Schreiber started America’s Right in January 2008.