By Kim Stagliano
It was the best of times. It was the weirdest of times. Written with apologies to Mr. Dickens at a time when I feel a great kinship with Madame Defarge, the character from A Tale of Two Cities who knitted names of her oppressors into her handwork during the French revolution.
ATOTC is my favorite Dickens novel. Who doesn’t swoon a bit when Sydney Carton says, “"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known," as he sacrifices himself for his love, Lucy?
Wow, take healthy children away from their parents.
Segregation. Corralling. How about just tossing us into railroad cars and calling us the VAX/CSX crowd?
America is not a nation that takes its freedom lightly. The current tone and tenor toward vaccination and medical rights is becoming severe and old fashioned. It smacks of Jim Crow laws.
Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in the Southern United States. Enacted after the Reconstruction period, these laws continued in force until 1965.
It feels like the same argument used by anti-abortion advocates, "punish the doctors!" Just ask our friend Dr. Sears. Except today it's the the very same people who have fought for so many civil liberties and rights who are leading the charge against vaccination rights. Can I have a WTF?
The language we are seeing is frightening. People think "Build the wall" is bad? (So do I, to be on record.) How is "Keep the unvaccinated but healthy out of school and segregate them" any better? Take a look at the mumps outbreak in Arkansas. Zero cases among the unvaccinated (those with exemptions.)
Vaccine profiling is what's happening.
Demonize those who are not 100% vaccinated per the pharma-driven CDC schedule. Harangue the parents of the children. Threaten loss of career for the doctors who thoughtfully write exemptions. None of this is remotely American. Or French, for that matter. Or Earthling.This reminds me of another favorite story. The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson. This is a short story that was scandalous when published in The New Yorker in 1948. It's the story of herd mentality gone very wrong. About how blind acceptance of how things have always been done, even when they are deadly is anathema to us. Or should be. Here's a plot summary if you're unfamiliar with the story.
Details of contemporary small-town American life are embroidered upon a description of an annual ritual known as "the lottery." In a small village of about 300 residents, the locals are in an excited yet nervous mood on June 27. Children gather stones as the adult townsfolk assemble for their annual event, which in the local tradition is practiced to ensure a good harvest (Old Man Warner quotes an old proverb: "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon"), though there are some rumors that nearby communities in the north are talking about giving up the lottery.
The lottery preparations start the night before with Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves making the paper slips and the list of all the families. Once the slips are finished, they are put into a black box, which is stored overnight in a safe at the coal company. The story briefly mentions how the ballot box has been stored other years in various places in the town.
On the morning of the lottery, the townspeople start close to 10 a.m. in order to have everything done in time for lunch. First, the heads of the households draw slips until every head of the household has a slip (for the first round, the men have to be over sixteen years of age). Bill Hutchinson gets the one slip with a black spot, meaning that his family has been chosen. The second round is for the individual family members to draw, no matter their age. Bill's wife Tessie gets the marked slip. After the drawing is over and Tessie is picked, the slips are allowed to fly off into the wind. In keeping with tradition, each villager obtains a stone and begins to surround Tessie. The story ends as Tessie is stoned to death while she bemoans the unfairness of the situation.
Tessie's friends and neighbors stone her to death because that's how the lottery works.
It was the best of times. It is a frightening time. 2016.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.