– Tisha Casida
Rather than divide this issue into two factions of thought that have no room for candid and cooperative discussion – how about we put some focus on why this is a big deal and how we can protect the health and well-being of our family and community.
First of all, let’s be honest with ourselves. Vaccines have not existed for all humankind’s existence, and, diseases – specifically viruses – mutate and change continuously. The truth is that vaccines have not always existed, and therefore, if they work, at one point in human’s existence, people continued to live (and die) without them. The truth is that viruses change and have wreaked havoc on human populations for thousands of years, and some would think that the good intent of vaccines is to stop this from happening.
We now live in a relatively free country, that does still ‘allow’ parents to choose whether or not to vaccinate their baby. The argument for individual liberty is that parents have a right to decide how their baby grows up – including their health. The argument for the commons, is that that un-vaccinated baby can now be a carrier of disease, and affect others with their choice.
Both of these arguments have substance – who would argue against both the individual’s and the community’s well-being? We now have angry parents of children who have contracted measles from children who are not vaccinated (in some but not all cases), from parents who have chosen a different lifestyle choice. But if we are going to hurl stones – can we also talk about what is happening with more viruses and more human development?
The fact is, that many countries other than ours have different ‘requirements’ for what happens with vaccinations. And, as America becomes even more diverse with an arguably more lax and unstructured immigration policy, and as more and more people travel all over the world (and this may not necessarily be a bad thing when we talk about the inefficiencies and bureaucracy saving us from a tyrannical government), we are likely to see a more diverse set of bugs and bacteria enter into the lives of Americans. This is in fact, a form of evolution. And, if you are going to try and pigeonhole me into being ‘racist’, please make a note that I am fully aware of the spread of disease from European settlers on indigenous Native American tribes. This transcends politics – this is human development.
The virus that made me want to bring this up, is “Shingles”. Why did this virus start to be so popular – it came out of nowhere. The commercials for the vaccine say that one in three people are going to get this…. and that the virus already is inside of you. So why has it gained ground and what caused that? Could it be from exposure to more peoples’ diverse sets of germs?
Before we condemn parents who decide not to vaccinate their children as the culprits of this outbreak, I really think it would be great to have a medical discussion (which I am incapable of having, since I am not in the medical field), about what viruses are and why they mutate, how people from other cultures and countries (which, is what most of us are built of – a combination of heritages) may be affecting the viruses that we are exposed to, and what can we do to prevent sickness and disease beyond vaccinations. Surely, there are more ways to protect people, including, building healthy immune systems that are exposed to more good bacteria.
As someone who fully celebrates sovereignty – I think people always deserve an “opt out” button of anything that the government proposes, on moral, ethical, and religious grounds. I also fully sympathize with people who are scared of such profound and un-conforming actions, which may then affect them in ways that they do not like and are uncomfortable. This is the dance between liberty and community – individual rights and collective rights – personal choice and government mandate. And there is no black and white answer, other than doing our best to make sure we figure out solutions to protecting the health of ourselves and our loved ones. Which is entirely possible with peaceful discussion versus violent rhetoric.