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By Kim Stagliano
This poem is from the vaccine record sheet of a 30-something Age of Autism reader, as kept by her mother starting in 1969. Take a good look at this darling sheet of paper. Then read her mother's notations.
We're reading the media alerts on "measles epidemics" that loom because of non-vaccinating parents. Remember when these diseases were featured in children's books and on sitcoms?
Were kids dying of measles in America when Leave it to Beaver was airing? How about Arthur the Aardvark and his sister DW contracting Chicken Pox? Did PBS, the station that brought you Mr. Rogers and Elmo, mean to scare children with an episode about a deadly disease or simply explain to them that they too could manage the itch and discomfort of the Chicken Pox. Just last week, I heard a Frank Sinatra song called, "Ev'rything happens to me," where he sings, "I've had the measles and the mumps." When did measles and chicken pox go from entertainment fodder to epidemic fear? And who's behind it?
Why ramp up the fear level of childhood diseases right now? Is it for back to school doctor's visits, so as to increase uptake? The media is in a frenzy with dire epidemic warnings, much like the color coded terror alerts that popped up everytime the current administration needed a voter boost before the 2004 election. Using fear to sell a product is as old as Cleopatra's eyeliner (which was made from lead.) Let's not be blinded by the technique.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.