Dan Benishek Abandons Medical Ethics To Whip Up Ebola Panic For Personal Gain
U.S. Representative Dan Benishek likes to point out to voters in his congressional district that he is a medical doctor, as this assertion gives him an air of authority. Benishek knows that many voters look up to doctors, and uses that instinct to give his political agenda the air of a medical prescription not to be questioned.
In recent weeks, however, Dan Benishek has abandoned all sense of medical ethics, using his position as a medical doctor to encourage public panic about Ebola for the sake of his own personal political advantage in the 2014 congressional elections.
“As a doctor, I understand that many in Northern Michigan are concerned about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,” Benishek writes. “We must do everything in our power to ensure that a full-blown outbreak does not occur within America’s borders,” he says. “I believe we must pursue all options.”
Not one single person has caught Ebola in the United States and died. Not one.
Compare that to the problem of death by cow. Yes, on average, twenty-two people are killed by cows every year in the United States.
In comparison to the total of four Ebola cases in the USA this year, there are about 33,000 cases of Lyme disease in the United States every year?
So, why isn’t Dan Benishek warning residents of northern Michigan about the dangers of cows? Why isn’t he spending his time warning voters in his district about the dangers of Lyme disease? There are many cows and disease-bearing ticks in northern Michigan, but there hasn’t been any case of Ebola ever recorded within the borders of Michigan, after all.
The reason is cynical: Dan Benishek knows that he can use panic about the Ebola virus to stimulate voters’ xenophobia, and specifically their anti-African racist anger against Barack Obama. Banishek knows that Ebola hype is a powerful way to turn out his political base, so he’s willing to throw reasonable medical caution to the winds, and recommend an “everything in our power” approach to Ebola that is scientifically unsupportable.
Every year in the United States, there are over 23 million visits to doctors’ offices to deal with infectious and parasitic diseases. This year, 4 of these cases have turned out to be Ebola. Dan Benishek won’t share this statistical perspective, however, because it doesn’t serve his political agenda.
Dan Benishek may be a medical doctor, but he’s trained as a surgeon, not as an infectious disease specialist. When he rants and raves about Ebola threatening northern Michigan, he’s betting that voters in his district are too ignorant to know the difference.