Global epidemics need a scapegoat, and for conservative pundit Erick Erickson, the most appropriate scapegoats for the over 4,000 deaths linked to the Ebola crisis in West Africa are "fat lesbians."
In an article titled "Fat Lesbians Got All the Ebola Dollars, But Blame the GOP," the sometimes Fox News commentator argued that the reason the U.S. has not adequately prepared for the spread of Ebola in the states or has found a cure is because we're wasting money on lesbians.
"[I]nstead of studying Ebola, the National Institutes of Health were studying the propensity of lesbians to be fat," he writes in a pithy post that also blames the misallocation of funds "for a study on wives who calm down quickly"; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "budget on gun violence studies on order of the President as part of his agenda to curtail the second amendment," as well as the money spent "to survey what bus riders thought of HIV videos."
Erickson also lambasts the CDC for spending its money "to convince people to stop smoking and now we need tobacco to manufacture the drug to fight Ebola."
The problem? Erickson's critique of funding for medical and public health research does not at all acknowledge the fact that this funding has been drastically cut by Republican-controlled houses of Congress over the past decade.
Speaking with the Huffington Post, Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, asserted that years of "stagnant spending has 'slowed down' research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases."
"NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here. ... Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."
The Huffington Post noted that "[m]oney, or rather the lack of it, is a big part of the problem. NIH's purchasing power is down 23 percent from what it was a decade ago" and has been cut by $446 million since 2010, WBALTV said. Congress also reduced the CDC's discretionary funding by $585 million within the same time frame.
Erickson deliberately overlooks the fact that funding has been cut and instead nitpicks about how the pittance of funding has been spent — clearly, "fat lesbians" are to blame for the $670,567 spent on a study of their well-being.
Instead of scapegoating a marginal and marginalized community, perhaps Erickson and other conservative pundits should look at the larger picture while acknowledging the U.S.'s failure to take adequate preventative measures to stem the spread of Ebola.