When it comes to swine flu, Americans have a variety of questions, starting with:
"Will we still have individualized funeral services or one collective mass burial scheduled each week, to save time?"
Ok, maybe I'm just speaking for myself on that one. It turns out most people aren't very worried at all, at least if you believe a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll indicating that almost 75% Americans think the government will handle this health threat just fine.
Gee, whiz! I guess the poll didn't happen to query many conservatives, judging from the fact that conservatives consider everything the government touches a colossal failure (apparently, they don't consider The Pentagon part of the government).
Maybe some of those 75% think the threat has been overblown, and the media is just complicit in some conspiracy to boost stock in Purell and in whatever pharmaceutical company produces a vaccine.
I guess we could reasonably expect the government to keep swine flu under control if swine flu doesn't actually exist.
Me, I'm betting on catastrophe. I'm certainly not looking forward to it, but I think we Americans get a little too big for our britches sometimes and need to be put in our place. The grisly demise of a few thousand people I don't know, with God-knows how many more suffering through repeated doses of Pepto-Bismol, all because of a speck so small we're not even sure it qualifies as a life form, should accomplish that quite nicely.
Of course, I'm only saying that so it won't happen. You know, the whole jinx thing.
If that doesn't make you feel more chillaxed about the situation, then I have even better news for you.
As part of an effort to make sure Americans are safe, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced that we're wrong to keep calling the H1N1 virus the "swine flu." He says "swine flu" has been around a long time, but the virus we're supposedly worried about is new and does not infect pigs, come from pigs, or even enjoy the company of pigs. This virus even gave the movie "Babe" a bad review on its blog.
Ah, I see. Maybe if we stop confusing it with a different virus, H1N1 will stop taking offense and threatening to suddenly and violently evacuate all our digestive systems?
"By continuing to mislabel the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, the media is causing undue and undeserved harm to America's agriculture industry, especially to pork producers," stated Vilsack, in what was undoubtedly one of the most riveting press releases ever written.
With all undue respect, the American agriculture industry deserves all the harm we can heave at it. Just rent "Food, Inc." or look up some slaughterhouse footage on youtube, then tell me if you think Tom Vilsack's urgent efforts to protect the health and safety of pork industry profits represent proper alignment of priorities.
Maybe we should rename the position "Secretary of Agri-business."
Anywho, assuming you do get sick, at least you can rely our the best-in-the-world health care system to take care of you. I haven't checked lately, but that's what most of our political leaders were calling it about a year ago; I can't imagine anything has changed much since then.