I'm tired of the swine flu panic. My fatigue doesn't mean I think the swine flu is trivial, though; it's just a lot of people are overreacting. After all, while Trenton's mayor Douglas Palmer was debuting in Tyler Perry's The Marriage Counselor last week at Patriot's Theater, more Trentonians headed to the hospital as victims of violent crime than those suffering from swine flu. No one yet — knock wood — has swine flu in all of New Jersey even, despite the World Health Organization's declaration of pandemic.
Influenza, in all its incarnations, is a baddy, even though most of us catch, and recover successfully, from a strain of it every so often. While most of us heal after catching it, it is directly responsible for, in one form or another, upward of 20,000 deaths in the United States. When combined with pneumonia, which is common, the death toll in the US reaches 60,000+ a year, and is the 7th leading cause of death for Americans, which is pretty bad, considering if we practiced better hygiene, we wouldn't be in this situation.
So, here we are, living under this constant threat, and generally speaking, we go around licking shopping carts and feeling each other up with our dirty little hands all the damn time. That is, until last week, when the new-to-us swine flu strain made contact with humans. This strain, according to the WHO (the same WHO who cried Red Alert), causes — generally speaking — only mild symptoms, and infected people make full recoveries without requiring medical attention, or the use of antivirals, which every hospital has well-stocked, just in case. The swine flu is a bigger deal for farm animals, and even so, the mortality rate among swine is currently around 10% of all piggies with the bug.
It's the lack of perspective that irritates me the most about the current flu panic. We should be more diligent about our cleanliness, all the time. And if we're going to get up in arms about certain types of death we have some control over, maybe we should take a look at other high-ranking causes of death among Americans, like murder, which is the 15th most likely way an American will die. Statistics vary, depending on location, of course, and among certain populations, like urban gang members, homicide rates are much higher. It seems to be that not many people outside cities care about these deaths; and since the violence continues, it's debatable if even the dead's peers care for very long, either. I'm sure most reasonably intelligent people can agree, though, that these deaths are senseless, and in my opinion, are a direct result of bad politics and bad policy.
I've blabbered on enough about bad politics in Trenton, as well as bad policy. You can check my archives for the tag "The mayor is a selfish baby" if you'd like to see more. Also, my fellow local bloggers are doing a fine, fine job of keeping you abreast of the bullshit of Trenton. I'm just going to implore my fellow Trentonians to put an end to the bullshit by electing some new blood next year; I'm imploring the politically-minded to work with other politically-minded people to put forth the best slate possible — a slate that will not only beat the shit out of the likes of Doug's puppet and Council President Paul "The Idiot Prince" Pintella, who, for some reason, thinks he should be mayor, but one that will also inspire the people. One that will turn this place around.
I know I don't have to do this, but I'm also imploring Governor Jon Corzine to look waaaaaaay beyond Doug Palmer when picking someone to run as his lieutenant governor later this year. Since the position of lieutenant governor is a first for New Jersey, I urge the governor to not disgrace the office so soon, by even considering putting Palmer in it. Of course, Corzine knows this, right? President Obama also skipped Palmer when considering an appointment to the newly created of Office of Urban Affairs. We all know Palmer has been hoping to fill one of those new positions as means to get the hell out of Dodge, which is why am hoping the Governor takes the President's lead when it comes to Doug. If and when he is not chosen to run as someone's Lieutenant Gov, Doug may be stupid enough to run for mayor here again. And because Palmer has worked so hard to keep a load of people in Trenton just ignorant enough of what's really happening (to them, mostly), it is a concern of mine that this group — easily swayed by the promise of a Target gift card and Doug's charisma — might help to elect that bozo again.
That is why I'm hoping Doug liked his little cameo appearance last week in Tyler Perry's show, and even more, I'm hoping Perry liked Doug's performance. Our mayor IS a good actor, after all. So, I implore Madea to encourage Doug to pursue a career in acting, and I hope he'll do us all a favor, and offer Doug a role in his next film. Perhaps an honest acting gig, one without residency requirements, will rid us of Doug, once and for all.