Aspie with Attitude

Sure, I'm just another Southern Recovering Alcoholic NPR- and Sweet-Tea Addicted Comic Mom with Asperger's in the SFV, but I can tell you now that I don't necessarily fit the stereotype.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

AB2109: Big Pharma's Wet Dream

I hear it on NPR and on local radio stations from coast to coast. Only 70% of children are receiving all their vaccinations on schedule. Vaccination rates are down. The proverbial sky is falling. Meanwhile, so many of the white middle- and upper-class women that I talk with are refusing to fill their children's bodies with the iffiness of vaccines. From abortion by-products to mercury, vaccines are rumored to be filled with all kinds of things. Autism rates continue to rise. Vaccine-related injuries and deaths happen, some to people I've known since I was a child. The Internet provides opportunities for those of us--mostly the well-educated, who breastfed until our children sprouted six-year molars or whatever--to do our own research, to make our own decisions about all kinds of things to do with ourselves and our children. We've found doctors who believe that we know our children better than anyone, even medical personnel. We reject the thinking that doctors know more than we do about the child that grew inside us. We are hesitant to trust pharmaceutical companies that tell us each day via advertising how little we know our bodies, how stupid we are, how something must be wrong with us.

Only pills or treatments or suppositories or powders can help us, of course. There is no constant barrage of advertising for breastfeeding or for allowing your child to catch the chicken pox naturally instead of relying on a vaccine that will spare us from a week of red spots so that we do not have to take time off from our employers to care for a sick child. A generation of women who have been taught to believe that we can have everything without sacrificing anything is gullible to this kind of advertising. A shot can cure ye olde nasty pox?!? Well, how can we not love that?

But so very many of us, those who buy organic veggies and fruits and grassfed meat and have limits on fast food and television and video games and try really hard to show our children how generations have lived and thrived, so many of us are thinking that the conveniences of modern life aren't always the best for our children. Our pregnancies are filled with worry and research and conversations with other moms. We are often judged because we say no to stuff that other mothers like. "If choosy mothers choose JIF," my 11-year-old recently asked, "Why don't you ever buy JIF?" Because I would rather buy almond butter? Because I like organic peanut butter? Because I don't believe every marketing slogan that's thrown at me, even if it's one I heard when I was a child?

In the women arena, there are fewer threats to modernity than moms like me, moms that think, moms that refuse to believe everything we hear and prefer to do our own research. So many modern-day advertisers would prefer that we just leave. If our children grow up to think for themselves, maybe these marketers will be out of a job, just as so many government school teachers are out of a job and so many school districts are losing money due to our children's butts being at home all day instead of sitting in a taxpayer-funded chair. We're not much good for government, either. After all, we're teaching our children to be skeptical of authority, of government, of everything, just as the United States' Founding Fathers were. We want to see government shrink, especially as we pay taxes to build schools that our children don't attend. We're a generous bunch in that way, paying for others to be educated and then taking the educational burden for our own children upon ourselves. We married well enough that we can be with our children all day and/or we work at all hours of the night so that we may help facilitate our children's learning. Oh, this kind of individualism is so very bad for government.

And so, governments all over the land are trying, piece by piece, to unravel our individuality, to take away the very freedoms that soldiers fought for two hundred or so years ago. The funny thing is that these governments are not only succeeding, they are thriving. How else can one explain an L.A. City Council vote of 14 to 0 to close medical marijuana dispensaries, even though the people of California have made it clear that we are okay with them? How else can one explain the war on another natural substance, raw cow's milk, that makes it illegal in North Carolina and many other states to drink what nature intended, a substance that people have been drinking for centuries? Is there another explanation for AB2109, the bill that seeks to limit the freedom of choice for parents by making us subject to a board-certified authority figure for our God-given right about what goes into our child's body? Despite opposition, it has received such overwhelming support from California legislators that it is now on Governor Jerry Brown's desk.

I remember Governor Moonbeam. I remember the whole Linda Ronstadt thing, all the 70s mystique of a very rockin' government official. He may have been a rebel, then--and I was way too young then to make political judgements--but he is nothing if not a typical government bureaucrat now. Unlike Governator Arnold, Moonbeam Brown doesn't even pretend he's for freedom. This nanny-state stance of his really has me worried with a bill that requires a doctor's visit in order to receive my permission slip so that I may decide what goes into my child's body. I realize that Brown is far from being alone in the ever-burgeoning public sector and that he and California's elected representatives are not the only ones shooting for eradication of parental rights, one small freedom at a time. Still, I had hoped for better. Part of me believes that Brown will step in at the end, that he will indeed fight for the rights of parents, that he will veto AB2109 so that parents can easily retain the right to refuse vaccinations, without authority figure approval. This is the 70s part of me, the part that believed I'd be more free one day, the part that believed we'd be flying around like the Jetsons as the 21st century rolled around. Just as the TSA has taken the joy out of commercial flying, so have politicians taken away more freedoms than I ever imagined as a child. Who knew that the gorgeous milk I used to get from the very clean dairy of Mr. and Mrs. Burcham would one day be deemed illegal in North Carolina, that I would have to drive over an hour to South Carolina to buy the now-illegal raw milk with the cream on top? It's no mere coincidence that since North Carolina took away that fundamental right in the early 1980s that dairy farms have decreased dramatically.

What is perhaps even more amazing is that not a drop of blood was shed in the streets when this revolution occurred. When the legislators in Raleigh deemed that raw milk would be illegal, the public schools had already brainwashed us into not knowing and/or not caring.  Some of us have woken up, but many still sleep and seem to have no desire to get out of government dreamland. In a similar way, people are shedding no blood about AB2109. Despite the looming and forced Obamacare, in which the government will have much more control over our bodies than they do now, it is probably fitting that government go ahead and start taking away our rights as parents. Far too many people believe that parents should have licenses and such and taking away parental rights is certainly a step in that direction. Still, part of me longs for freedom--how can I teach my children to be careful about what goes into their body if the government is making it harder and harder for me to do so? As Obamacare is forced upon us, Big Pharma will reap the benefits of the public/private partnership between government and legal drug manufacturers. Consumers will be so high on anti-depressants and advertising brainwashing that most people won't care or notice the huge wet dream with which Big Pharma is soaking us.

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