Here’s the audio of my October 30 conversation with Portia Jackson, the creator of an awesome new podcast, Working Motherhood.
Frank Bruni had a great piece, a little while back, about the “virus of cynicism,” about how our country’s public health infrastructure has seemed so overwhelmed by the fairly predictable arrival of the Ebola virus here and how its failures feed into a broader public sense that our government officials—and officials of any kind really—just aren’t as capable as they ought to be. Bruni’s point was that people are anxious “not just about Ebola but about America” and that we, as citizens, need better communication from our leaders to re-establish our fundamental trust in them.
I think he’s right. (I mean, hey, I’m a writer: I support the use of better, more inspiring language whenever I can.) But I think there’s something more to it. I mean, maybe we are all a bit too cynical about things these days. But maybe we’re also right: maybe, as crotchety old timers have long been insisting, you really just can’t trust anyone to do a decent job at anything anymore. Maybe we’ve just given up.
Now that two Dallas nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, have contracted Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, you have to wonder how confident Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, is feeling about the “great infrastructure” we have in place. There was no reason to worry about Ebola here because, he told reporters, “This is not Africa.”