At least anthrax goes away if you treat it

(Brita Helgesen)

(Brita Helgesen)

Pop Quiz: Which is worse to contract? A) Herpes B) AnthraxThe latest fall-out from the Sept. 11 catastrophe has been the attacks on America using anthrax. While I am naturally worried about anthrax making its way somehow to my mail, I cannot honestly say that anthrax scares me.

If you think about it, anthrax is much better to contract than, say, herpes. If you diagnose it in time you can get rid of anthrax, whereas once you get stuck with herpes, you get stuck for life. Also, even with the recent cases of anthrax, a person still has a much better chance to get herpes than anthrax.

My point here is not to make light of the anthrax situation. My point is that as long as we are careful and are able to spot the early warning signs of the disease, anthrax is very treatable. However, while the treatment of anthrax seems rather simple, our government’s handling of the problem is certainly questionable.

While the government has handled the diagnosing and cleansing of anthrax-affected areas very well, it has not, however, taken proper care of all the people affected by this threat.

Case in point: when anthrax was discovered in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., the building was immediately evacuated, everybody in the vicinity was tested, and the building was closed off until it could be cleaned properly.

However, in Manhattan the government refuses to shut down a post office so it can be tested and treated for the presence of anthrax.

At a press conference last week, David Solomon, a U.S. Postal Service area vice-president said the post office would be closed if health officials made a future determination that employees are at risk. What Solomon had to say was pretty ridiculous if you think about the fact that the building had tested positive for anthrax spores. Of course there is a risk; there is a risk that not all the anthrax was found.

So if we look at the two situations of anthrax being found, we see that while the government buildings were closed and sealed off as fast as possible, postal workers are forced to work in a building that may or may not be contaminated. This shows two very horrible truths about what our government’s priorities are. The first truth is that the country can go on without its politicians actually being at work, and the second truth is that the mail seems to be more important than a person’s health.

What makes this situation really sad is that you see first-hand what many people have suspected all along: that the government cares more about its own politicians than the people those politicians represent. It has been the workers, not the politicians that have built up this country, and it is not the politicians that are the only ones keeping this country moving throughout this tumultuous period. I just wish our government would draw the same conclusions.