Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Zika scare: Donald Trump’s wall is no match for a mosquito

Zika proves that excluding undocumented immigrants from health coverage puts the entire nation’s health at risk

By Bob Hennelly,
May 31, 2016

For several years now I have been convinced that we are a profoundly stuck nation, hence my Twitter handle “stucknation.” By stuck, I mean that our nation is so hopelessly divided as to a course of collective action that we just can’t move. We remain a large mammal, stranded in a rushing stream and the switches of time, swatting away Zika infected mosquitos, as the water rises.

Our “democracy’” is on the verge of producing two choices for president most voters can’t stand. The candidates only path to victory is through hyping the fear that the potential election of their opponent prompts in the electorate. This scorched earth campaign will consume hundreds of millions of dollars in a nation where 22 percent of the children live in poverty and so many millions of children in the world at large lack access to basic health care, safe water and basic sanitation.

It is beyond obscene.

We can’t even agree on which direction gets us to higher ground or if we should even bother to head there. Yet, the time has come when our national paralysis is making us vulnerable to something potentially catastrophic in the form of a possible epidemic that could start in the population of the undocumented population of immigrants and the millions of other uninsured people that call the U.S. home.

Nowhere is our stuckness more manifest than in our debate over immigration and public health. With 11 million undocumented immigrants already living here, just by their very proximity to us and our families, their well-being and health is intimately linked to ours. Forget politics. It’s just biology.[...]

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