Reports started percolating Saturday about an influenza epidemic in Mexico. It has been dubbed “the swine flu,” because it is a sickness that originated in pigs. So far it is believed that approximately eighty people have died from it. Thousands are sick. Schools are closed. Public events have been shut down. People who must go out wear masks. But the media doesn’t give me too much time to be sad for the people of Mexico. The virus is spreading to my country—and possibly yours. The news is inciting panic about the swine flu becoming a global pandemic. A part of me wants to turn away. I’ve heard this story before. Mad cow disease. Bird flu. West Nile. Death. Fear, fear, fear. Enter the pharmaceutical (or pesticide) industries, who don their flowing capes and “save the day.” Then the media, like hungry leeches, latch onto another victim. This is what I want to turn away from.
Don’t get me wrong. I feel for the people of Mexico. There is a reality here. People are dying from this virus. People are afraid. I am afraid. However, I do believe that the more you think things through yourself, the less helpless you are. You may still be afraid. You may not have all the answers. But you’ll be empowered. I’d like to take some time in the next few days to think about this out-loud. I have questions….