by Cathy Jameson
With far fewer stressors in their lives, my children had a much better time of preparing themselves for Easter this year than I did. I was too focused on what was happening outside of my home than in it during the season of Lent. I’ve been a bit distracted for longer actually.
Since the 2019 legislative season began, I haven’t stopped thinking about how state politicians have been so focused on attacking parents and their personal rights. Some might say that the attack on informed parents has never let up, which is true, but the steady build up since the last time measles made the news in 2015 has been telling. Dismissing parental input, ignoring parental testimonies, criticizing our children’s very real vaccine reactions, some legislators’ behavior toward families has been atrocious. That said, I was utterly shocked that city and state representatives were focusing their attention on specific religious groups this time around. Are they really going to go after the Jews, I wondered? Do they really think they could get away with this? Yes, they were. And, so far, yes, some have gotten away with it.
I’ve heard the phrase several times in my life – history will repeat itself – and, boy, has it ever.
A group of people I highly respect, what was being said about the Jews and what was being proposed to Jewish families in New York rattled me. Bullied. Belittled. Fined. Ostracized. And for what? For not following the state and its backward thinking about a temporary, treatable illness? This is not happening. Not in 2019! But it did happen and during one of the holiest seasons of the church year, too.
Listening to one measles news story after another, I thought how ironic, how fitting, and how absolutely awful that this was happening during Lent.
I’ve always been a praying person, but if anything, the current events and on-going attacks toward families have made me pray all the harder. I’m praying for parents to stay true to their convictions. I’m praying for the elected representatives to listen to the people they serve and not to industry lobbyist and businessmen and women who may have financial influence. I’m praying for the children, too, who will surely get caught in the crosshairs. Witnessing unsupportive community leaders eagerly fighting their parents must be intimidating for the children.
For many of us who’ve stayed faithful to the cause, these last few months have been nothing but overwhelming. We may get one day of rest today with Easter, but we need all hands on deck once again come tomorrow morning. Some of us won’t have a complete day off today, though, as autism and vaccine injury knows no holidays; but I hope you get to be with the ones you love.
If you are with those whom you love, may the time you spend together renew your spirit. May your hope also be refilled, and may your love be focused on those who need it most. Remember that love is stronger than hate. Even in the most trying of times, love will always be stronger.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.