an imitation of a person or thing, especially one done to entertain.
There is the old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression but I’m not exactly sure who we are suppose to be imitating anymore. Who are the experts these days? It seems safe to say that a celebrity might not be the best source of information when it comes to health concerns and yet Jenny McCarthy became the face of the anti vaccine campaign after looking for answers when her own son was diagnosed with autism.
Still, I don’t believe that anti-vaxxers are bad parents. I actually think that they are people trying very hard to be good parents. They have done research and taken notes and made the decision to not just fall in line and do what everybody else is doing. They are attempting to take a stand and do what they believe is right despite the pressure of herd mentality (and really, have you taken a look at the herd lately? I understand the concern)
History books are filled with examples of others that have done the exact same thing and they’re celebrated for changing the world for the better. So who do you trust? It’s not like we don’t have ample evidence of corruption and dishonesty in the highest ranks of the pharmaceutical companies or even the government for that matter. Telling these parents to seek the advice of their health care professional can feel like another platitude, because guess what, doctors are also only human. Understand, I say this as a person who has endured multiple surgeries to systematically remove the internal organs responsible for pain that is now being diagnosed as muscular since there is no longer any of those pesky parts hanging around to pin it on. Trust me, I get it. The human body is an amazing and complicated machine that even after taking twice as much schooling as the average person, can give you a run for your money. The truth is, they have yet to fully understand or find a way to prevent autism but they have however found an highly effective way of preventing dangerous diseases. Viruses like measles for example, which killed 2.6 million people each year before the widespread use of vaccinations in the 1980’s. This of course is very comforting to me when I take my family to go see our doctor for our yearly check ups. Maybe it would be less comforting if my child was autistic.
If a parent (or individual) does not feel like their physician is providing them with the answers they need, they are often comforted with another favourite cliché and told to get a second opinion. Here in Canada with a sweeping shortage of general practitioners and growing wait times in our emergency rooms, it’s hard enough to get one professional assessment, never mind about two. Luckily, (unluckily?) the internet is always there ready to provide you will all sorts of information. So much information that sometimes it’s hard to sort out who to listen to, so too often we just end up hearing (and repeating) the loudest, most well known, popular version of the story; and just like that we’re back to the media making celebrities the experts of our time. So here’s the thing, maybe it’s not so crazy that a parent, overwhelmed and scared with the enormous responsibility of raising such a precious commodity falls victim to looking to a Hollywood personality as a role model. When you are scared and you feel like you have no options you can sometimes make bad decisions…which might explain why we also have a celebrity with zero political experience, running one of the most powerful countries in the world.
This post is actually not about taking a stand on the anti-vaccine campaign nor is it a stab at the political climate in the United States, even though I certainly have strong opinions on both and if you bring over a bottle of wine, I will most happily share them. However at the end of the day, I will also readily admit that I am no expert and only human. If your doctor can’t convince you of the benefits of vaccinations, then who am I to climb up on my high horse to fling insults and incriminations. I am, after all, just a Cractpot trying to do her best impression of an upstanding member of society while still maintaining a dash of her unique and unconventional charm. Someone who will always try to listen even when I don’t agree. A person who wants to understand your choices even as I worry about their consequences. I am certainly no celebrity but I am always up for a little conversation and maybe that’s what we need more of these day. An open dialogue where we can put everything on the table without fear of recriminations to sort out what’s true and what isn’t. An opportunity to meet real people who inspire us despite their imperfections instead of two dimensional personalities on TV with a public relations representative spinning the information to their advantage instead of ours. So get out there, meet new people and be kind. Get inspired and be inspiring. If you’re not sure how to start, stop by and try out your best impressions on me. I promise to be a fair judge and if you make a mistake I’m always willing to give you a second chance. Just don’t forget to bring cookies…because freshly baked chocolate chip cookies never hurt a first impression.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel~Maya Angelou