I am not a doctor.
I do not hold a PhD.
I am not writing this from a research lab strewn with papers on the subject I am (sort of) going to discuss.
I am a 23-year-old creative writing graduate that lives with her parents.
I am currently student teaching high school English.
And I am writing from this bed where my clean clothes still lie in a pile (and will probably never be put away because that’s just how I roll).
I have no authority on this matter and I don’t pretend to. But something has happened in the world (or at least on Facebook) and I think it needs to be addressed. (And because it’s been a while since I’ve graced the world with my wit and wisdom.)
The issue at hand is vaccinations. (Collective gasp!) I know, you’re probably tired of hearing of this and I have to be honest, though I found it amusing at first, I’m kind of tired of reading about it.
So you’ll be to happy to know that I will not be talking about whether or not you should or should not vaccinate your children, because like I said, I have no expertise in that subject.
What I want to talk about is how this “debate” (if that’s even what you want to call it) is being handled.
Here is what I have noticed:
For the most part, people are using pseudo-science in order to back up their claims NOT to vaccinate their children. I don’t know a lot about science, but I do know how to spot a credible source when I see one and if that banner at the top has Obama with a swastika trying to force needles into babies…then it’s probably not the most reliable means of information.
These articles tend to use clickbait titles (like I did) because they’re trying to grab your attention is the cheapest way possible (like I want to). A real news article would have a concise, factual, probably pretty boring title because let’s face it, journalism isn’t meant to be flashy and fun. (A lot of news source are straying away from this these days and it’s sad…I’m looking at you CNN and FOX.)
A lot of these articles don’t even have authors. They are blog posts put together by some randos. If no one is willing to claim the information they are putting forward, that’s probably a red flag. I’ve also noticed a lot of these articles or “blog posts” are using debunked claims to build up their argument.
Here’s the thing, I am all for conspiracy theories. It’s my personal belief that we should question EVERYTHING. I think that’s the only way we truly gain knowledge.
But there also shouldn’t be this fear of being wrong. There’s a trend of anti-intellectualism among people utilizing sources such as this because they fear that the “main stream media” and really the medical field, as a whole, is trying to poison them in order to get their sixty bucks for a silly shot.
If you are choosing not to vaccinate your children, you should be willing to review all the research, especially those coming from more credible sources.
I’ve also noticed that people are generally very unkind toward those who are outspoken in their anti-vaccination beliefs. You definitely do not need to agree with everyone, but you’re also not going to win anyone over by telling them that they’re stupid and should be sterilized and are killing babies and themselves and deserve to die.
That’s just crazy talk.
There is a conversation that needs to happen here because I think people are blindly going into vaccinating (or not vaccinating) without doing the proper research. Don’t just do it because everyone else is, but also don’t do it because a stay-at-home mommy blog told you that Dr. Mengele-type experiments are what is really happening on the other side of the waiting room.
It’s important not to deny science and how far it has come and how far it can still go.
I think it’s wonderful that we have choices, but terribly sad that we can’t seem to have conversations.
I did something recently that I literally never do. I commented on an anti-vaccination Facebook post (probably because I needed the fuel for this post).
A girl, that I don’t know (a friend of a friend, if you will) posted an article about how CPS came and forcibly took a set of twins from the mother and father due to their choosing to have a home birth instead of going to the hospital.
So I read the article and yeah, it did seem like that was exactly what CPS did. The anti-vaccination community was in an uproar over the forced medical treatment of the twins and how they were unceremoniously taken away from their home and more importantly, their mother.
But then I got to the bottom of the article where there was a little link that said “show more.” When I clicked the link, it opened the other half of the article and what do you know? The children were NOT taken away due to a home birth, but due to domestic violence. Law enforcement had been to the house several times and arrested the father for domestic abuse. The author (whoever it was) specifically said at the bottom of the article that this was the reason they were taken.
I wouldn’t have clicked the “show more” button had I not gone to the comments first. Buried deep in the sensationalized demonization of CPS was a short comment from someone saying how deceptive this article was if you didn’t read the second half.
That is so telling of who we are as a society (myself included). We take shortcuts. We scan. We don’t bother to “show more.”
I pointed out the deceptiveness of the article. I didn’t even say anyone was wrong for not wanting to vaccinate their children, I simply said that CPS took those particular kids away because it wasn’t a safe environment.
And you know what happened. I got blocked. So I’m guessing that conversation is over. And I feel bad if I offended her because that was not my attention. As a future teacher, my goal is always to help my students become better thinkers.
People don’t like to hear they’re wrong. I get it. I’m the worst when it comes to criticism.
That’s why if you’re really passionate about this and are going to engage in a debate, it’s better to tread lightly and attempt to see it from the other’s perspective. Present facts, not opinions.
Avoid using buzzwords (or if you’re like me and would rather simply watch the drama unfold, then you can use them for a fun drinking game) like fear mongering, propaganda, wake up!, main stream media, herd immunity, virus shedding, measles, Thanks Obama, sheeple, persecution, control, freedom, sterilization, dead babies, the government, big pharma, agenda pushing, poison, autism, ignorance, our lord and savior Jenny McCarthy, (pro or anti) vaxxers, and finally, Nazis (or really anything to do with the Holocaust).
(I mentioned Dr. Mengele earlier…everyone drink!)
The point I’m trying to make is this: being a parent (from what I hear) is hard. So of course you should do all kinds of research before you let someone stick needles in your baby and inject it with who knows what.
(But also, if the side effects of vaccinating your child are them living a long, healthy life…then I dunno, maybe consider it.)
If you’re on the other side of the spectrum then maybe take a few breaths before you start laying into them via Internet comments. It’s a waste of time, honestly. (Even if it’s just for the Reddit karma.)
We’re all on a wild ride on this little blue marble we call home. Life is so short. Let’s spend it being better people and better thinkers, not angry individuals who always have to have the last word.