The anti-vaxxers in Maine were the most virulent opposition I faced when I ran for the US Senate in 2020. By which I mean, they threatened me the most often and harrassed me endlessly from the very first days of my campaign to the end 15 months later.
I don’t doubt their sincerity in believing that vaccines are too harmful to give to their children. Nor am I surprised that they are on social media now declaring they will never take a vaccine to prevent being infected by covid-19.
I do doubt their critical thinking abilities. I was repeatedly told that I favored mandatory vaccinations for children even though I was clear in public forums from the early days of the campaign that this applied only to children enrolled in public schools (which are not mandatory). As a teacher for 25 years, I have the lived experience of communicable diseases spreading rapidly (not to mention lice) and profoundly affecting educational opportunities.
Opportunities like learning more about the scientific method of having a hypothesis, collecting evidence, considering its implications, and further revising one’s hypothesis.
I was told by a mom representing a group of anti-vax parents that they were planning to vote for Max Linn over me, Susan Collins, or Sara Gideon because he was the only one they could trust not to support a mandatory covid vaccination program.
I have also seen anti-vaxxers make several references to medical tyranny.
Mask wearing, even if mandatory, is not medical tyranny.
It is akin to infant car seat mandates, limiting personal freedom on behalf of protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
A problem with corporate government is that it breeds distrust, and that distrust becomes a huge factor in emergencies like our current public health crisis.
Big Pharma has undoubtedly infected Congress and other branches of our government. Any health care with a profit motive is a business first and a health program second. This is a problem created by our captured federal, state, and local governments who serve business interests that fund their campaigns and perqs rather than serving the people as they swore they would do.
Today Pfizer announced that people with severe allergic reactions should not take their vaccine. Two National Health staffers in the UK had reactions to the new covid vaccine Pfizer is selling. That doesn’t mean nobody should.
Corporate government is also infested by another pathogen: weapon manufacturers. Every Biden cabinet nomination to head up the US military has been a board member of Raytheon, Booz Allen, or another corporation that feeds at the public trough. That’s why US foreign policy amounts to endless wars with the corporate media ginning up fear of new enemies constantly.
Chris Hedges has observed that declining empires often feature irrational beliefs and “crisis cults” as the material conditions for life spiral downward.
One word: QAnon.
Unsurprisingly, even the outlandish beliefs of that cult have a kernel of truth underlying them. Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell did operate an international ring trafficking children for sexual exploitation, with many Democrats like Bill Clinton apparently involved. The predators weren’t all Democrats, of course. They were various powerful men who could be blackmailed afterwards.
I can’t dispute the kernel of truth underlying anti-vax sentiment — that for-profit health measures pushed by corporate government could be harmful.
But I’ll continue to put my faith in scientists motivated by a concern for the common good. When deciding about taking any new vaccines I’ll consult the health care providers I trust, including my sister who works at a prominent research hospital, and my own doctors who I’ve been fortunate to know for several years.
I’ll read sites by scientists like Rebekah Jones in Florida who have suffered their own harms for their effort to tell the truth about covid. Or the truth about artificial intelligence, for that matter.
I will continue working to distinguish between medicine for health and medicine for for profit. I can continue to be aware of my distrust of corporate government without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.