Alabama State House Candidate (Not the Republican One): 'Vote for My Opponent and You Will Get Ebola!'

by Jennifer Marsden, MD, Candidate for State House, Alabama District 93 

Part of the Progressive/Democrat problem is that we just don't have a persuasive enough message machine. There is no Fox News and its associated connections to get every talking head in our party saying the same phrase in lock step and every watcher of the favored channel believing as gospel the same thing no matter how many Congressional investigations (or Comedy Central parodies of Fox News' "Benghazi! Bengazhi Bengazhi BENGHAZI!!!").

MSNBC just doesn't consistently make our blood boil or get us all marching in unison. I flatter myself by thinking that this is because Progressives are too intelligent to be taken in by false logic or out and out lies spoken often enough and loudly enough; and of course you have heard of 'herding cats' to describe trying to get Democrats all headed in the same direction. (Yes, I believe the true Sheeple vote Republican.)

This week, my 14 year old daughter and assistant speech writer suggested I tell voters "Vote for my opponent and you will get Ebola!" I laughed and reminded her about libel and slander and how sensationalism is a bad right wing trait, but then my campaign manager and husband convinced me to take the idea seriously. So, in high school English essay format, why you must vote for me, or else Ebola! Ebola Ebola Ebola!!!

Here in Alabama the Republican supermajority is doing its best to end public education as we know it and create an education industrial complex. Former Governor Bob Riley runs a company which gets 5 percent of funds taken from public education for school vouchers. They have cut public education funding $1200 per student in the past 8 years. Our teachers get $20 more for a classroom supplies allowance than they did 20 years ago. Our schools send out school supply lists including Chlorox® wipes, hand sanitizer, and Kleenex®. Do some schools request parents send in toilet paper? Clearly, where parents do not adequately stock the schools with cleaning supplies our school students (and families) are at increased risk of spreading germs. Ebola!

Likewise Alabama is a 'right to work' state, also known as a right to be fired without cause and no right to form a union state. I beg the local union members (we have a few) to ignore what they see on TV (Fox News is endemic) and vote Democrat, reminding them how unions and the Democratic Party brought us all child labor laws, overtime, and sick leave. Did I say sick leave? Of course, here in Alabama, non-union members rarely have sick leave, and wages are so low for many they work two or three jobs. When workers are paid so little, missing a day's work is unaffordable and may even cost them their job. A doctor's note does not protect them from lost wages or being fired if they have gotten sick already this year — the boss prefers his never absent employees. These low wage workers will not self-quarantine for several days when they might be contagious, even/especially when they work in food service with the lowest pay, let alone stay home to recover or when barely fit to show up at work. I know from my clinical practice as a family doctor this is true even when workers are advised to stay home by medical staff. Sick people in our restaurants and at our workplace! Ebola Ebola Ebola!

If they can access medical advice! Sadly, Alabama's governor (a doctor himself) has so far refused Medicaid Expansion. This leaves about 300,000 Alabamians — most with jobs — in the Medicaid Gap. Even if they feel driven to seek a doctor by some horrible symptoms they may wait until an emergency room visit is needed (where inability to pay does not matter); if there is still a hospital near by. Six hospitals have closed in the past 18 months and 22 more are at risk, which Medicaid expansion would help alleviate. Hospitals and medical clinics need to get paid, and minimum wage workers without health insurance aren't the best customers for good wages for the medical staff. The lack of affordable medical care increases our risk of contagious diseases not being properly diagnosed or managed. Ebola! Spreading wildly!

In summary, a vote for an Alabama Republican is a vote to turn us into a third world country with third world schools, third world wages, third world medicine, and third world diseases. Low wage conservatism and the pervasive plantation mentality espoused by our GOP supermajority and governor continue to prey on the most vulnerable in our state — hard working Alabama families, their children and the medically needy. Those are exactly the same populations that we see most affected by Ebola overseas: it takes advantage of underpaid workers, the young, and the weak. Unlike much of the talking points on Fox News, this is at least logical. Ebola! Ebola Ebola EBOLA!


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