You don’t want no change

In my line of work, you have to be able to survive different levels and incarnations of bureaucracies. People at the top will come and go at the whim of the electorate, or the whims of those who fund elections. But people like us, people at the bottom, will always be around. We will always be the ones to clean up the messes of the people at the top.

Take for example Zika in Puerto Rico. We saw that coming since it showed up in Brazil last year. When a friend of mine went to Colombia, I told him to watch for it. Reports were coming in that Zika had arrived in Brazil, but no one was listening. (No one at the top, that is.) While my friend was chasing Chikungunya, I was getting ready to be deployed to Brazil. However, at the last minute, because the people upstairs are that way, I ended up helping with MERS in Seoul instead.

So I guess I am in fact susceptible to some of the whims of some of the people upstairs. Funny that. Anyway, we saw Zika coming and no one did much of anything. Some of us begged and pleaded to be sent to the island to help them prepare. Their health department was in shambles, and we knew it. We desperately kept asking for a deployment. We were even willing to stay with host families to cut down on the cost. But, because Zika funding was a political hot potato, no one did anything.

And here we are. The first case of microcephaly in a child has been reported in Puerto Rico, and it is probably not going to be the only one. The eggheads in mathematical modeling tell us that thousands of women will be infected. The epidemiologists on the ground are seeing it. And those of us who have dealt with infectious disease outbreaks before know that it’s going to get much worse before it gets better, especially since we couldn’t do anything early to at least ameliorate the outcomes.

Thing is, this is the way things have always been. Politicians have always played politics with other peoples’ lives. They are willing to tolerate the deaths (or lifetime of disability) of people so long as they keep their power and keep pushing for the weird ideal in their head. (Their version of freedom, their version of justice, and their version of the American Way.) And we, the people, we are sort of okay with that because we’re creatures of comfort.

If I told you that you had to go grab a gun and head out to fight an invading army, you (especially you Americans) would probably freak out. Who would take care of your house while you were gone? Who’d feed your pets? What about your kids? Your lawn? Very few of you would be willing to let it all go to go fight, or to go do what needs to be done to make things better.

That’s why I could care less if Clinton or Trump win. (Sure, Trump will probably take us into a nuclear holocaust-type situation, but we’ll deal with that when we get to it.) They’re not going to change things because we won’t let them. We’ll complain if gasoline prices get high, and they’ll do what they need to to do bring those prices down lest we don’t vote for them in the next election. The same if enough of us don’t have a job, or if our homes are not worth as much as we want them to be worth.

All of this assumes that the next POTUS doesn’t become a despotic ruler. Even then, they have to keep someone happy or risk losing control:

So I don’t believe you when you say that you want change. If you think about it, Obama didn’t change things much compared to Bush Jr. Things didn’t change that much from Clinton to Bush Jr. And it wasn’t a quantum leap from Reagan to Bush Sr. to Clinton. All change has been gradual, slow, and done in such a way as to keep you comfortable and keep you productive enough for that tax money to flow.

You don’t want no change. You want everything to be status quo for as long as possible, and that’s why we have these public health “emergencies” instead of public health “problems.” We saw Zika coming from miles away, but it was uncomfortable to tell people not to travel to those nice, warm places to have some fun. It was uncomfortable to tell people there not to have sex. (The horror!) And here we are.

Whoever you vote for on November 8 (or 28th), know that you are not voting for change. You’re voting to keep the status quo as you see it. Democrats will vote for Democrats. Republicans will vote for Republicans. Tea Partiers will vote for psychopaths. And undecideds will vote for whomever seems to be the closest to keeping things the way they are, or the way they used to be when things were best.


One thought on “You don’t want no change

  1. “If I told you that you had to go grab a gun and head out to fight…”

    Been there, done that. 27 years, 8 months, retired when it started to hurt too much to put all of that crap on in the morning.
    Honestly, the last time we had any significant change, beyond the partial success of the civil rights movement, was under FDR.
    Somehow, I don’t see another like him in the pipeline, the environment is compatible for someone like that to rise to any level of prominence. Worse, anyone trying to generate change will be drowned out by billions of dollars in campaign contributions to their competitors.

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