Public policy in our country and state today is being driven by many dangerous elements and forces. Of substantial concern are policies, agendas and legislation being driven by claims of a “national crisis” –crises which do not exist and are unsupported by reality, fact or science. It’s very dangerous when these claims are driven by the politics of fear mongering, hate and division and used to promote political agendas. This is especially concerning when specific groups of people are targeted and attacked to incite fear and to promote misguided and harmful policies.
Our country’s system of checks and balances is being circumvented and ignored by those we have placed in positions of authority and accountability. Intelligent and rational debate have fallen victim to hysteria and the politics of misinformation and fear. This atmosphere is being fueled by social media and by sensationalist and also divisive news media headlines.
Many who read this may believe this describes our current President and his attempts to build a border wall with Mexico. Yet our President is not the only one engaging in this. Democrats and those who have labeled themselves as being “social justice warriors” are equally as guilty of this, especially in our state.
Earlier this month, President Trump declared a national emergency. A state of emergency and national crisis does exist, but it’s not about a border wall.
The national emergency every citizen is being harmed by is the erosion of fundamental rights caused by unwarranted government infringements and intrusions into our personal lives. Attacks against fundamental liberties and personal freedoms guaranteed to all of us by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Especially when it comes to the issue of parental rights.
The exact same politics of fear mongering, misinformation, hate and fear being used by our President to promote his border wall is also being used by legislators in our state and across the country to promote government mandated vaccination –this in response to a fake and manufactured crisis which does not exist, based on dated and misleading facts and misinformation, and the politics of fear.
To be clear, I am not anti-vax. I have worked in the pharma industry and now work in the healthcare insurance industry. My family came here from a former communist country. We understand well what happens when government is allowed to deny individual liberties and personal freedoms. We know quite well what happens when the state considers its interests to be more important than protecting the rights of its citizens.
The scientific benefits of vaccination are not in dispute. However, concerns regarding vaccine injury, today’s vaccine schedule and our government’s much too close relationship with the vaccine industry – should also not be in dispute. When it is well documented, admitted and scientific fact that many children have been severely injured or even killed as a result of adverse vaccine reactions – then government has no right or authority of any kind to place parents in a situation where our government forces them to expose their children to admitted risk and risk they deem to be unacceptable.
Our system of modern medicine only works because it was founded on the concept of doing no harm and importance of informed consent. A person has a fundamental and protected right to control what happens to their own bodies. Parents have a fundamental right to the care, custody and control of their children and their family’s medical care. Not the state.
Once we hand over that control – where does it stop?
It is curiously hypocritical that many of those who are pro-choice and against government intrusions into their personal medical decisions and choices when it comes to the issue of abortion, do not share the same concern it comes to government forced vaccination and forcing parents to inject their children with substances they may disagree with or have valid scientific concerns about.
The solution to the vaccine issue is not government mandates and more draconian government infringement of parental rights and decision making.
If our state and federal governments want people to vaccinate, the solution is better education and promoting informed consent. It would start promoting full disclosure. By addressing and responding to the valid concerns being expressed by concerned parents who are asking all of the right and legitimate questions. The answer is not by engaging in the politics of hate and fear. It is not found in labeling parents raising these issues as being “crazy,” “uninformed” or worse, to promote a political agenda.
A further very serious concern is that the vaccine issue has made the recent headlines in Democratically controlled states not due to any crisis or emergency of any kind. A few dozen cases of measles in Washington State or 1,200 parents opting not to vaccine, or to vaccinate on a limited schedule, in Connecticut, is not a medical crisis or threat to the national health. It certainly does not justify sensationalist news media headlines designed to scare people using words like “Outbreak!”
All of us should be very wary. We should all be very concerned that this (non)issue and non-emergency has been adopted by Democrats as a collateral attack against the current President given his stance on the issue and his refusal to accept facts based in science.
All of us should be very concerned when certain state legislators and members of the Children’s Committee are using this issue as a basis and justification to allow our state to even further infringe upon and deny parental rights and parental decision making.
A very dangerous combination indeed.
Peter Szymonik lives in Glastonbury.
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