Over the Edge, into Activism

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This week’s news cycle put me over the edge. It started with the continuing anti-vaccine debacle, and went downhill from there. The final straw was the kangaroo service animal in Wisconsin. I might have been more open-minded if this occurred in Australia, the kangaroo capital, but nope.

Remember this moment.

Kangaroo service animals pushed me off the cliff.

Since forever, I’ve been political. When twenty-four hour news programs began, I rejoiced. Keith Olbermann. Joe Scarborough. Chris Jansing. Chuck Todd. All day. All night. It was amazing. I lived and breathed politics and current events. I stopped after the 2012 election. I realized how stressed and tense it made me, but that is another story.

I had opinions on civil rights, women’s rights, abortion, labor laws, Miranda, sex, gay rights and issues, money; opinions, thoughts, insights.

Believe it or not, I didn’t express all of them.

After my friend was murdered in 2011, I became an advocate. I wanted everyone to know about her murder, and the domestic abuse and violence that led to it. I made it my mission to bring awareness everywhere I went.

I wrote about marriage equality.

I explained what transgender was and was not to a friend when she mistakenly misgendered someone.

I fought with my school district over unnecessary vaccines (and I’m pro-vaccine), and respect for non-Christian religions.

I advocated.

This week that changed.

I’ve always wondered what makes an activist. I always used to clarify: I’m not an activist; I’m an advocate. Was it less passion? Was it commitment? Fear? Was it PTA-suburban-soccer Mom induced embarrassment?

I think it was all of those things and more.

When someone asks me when did you become an activist, I will now be able to answer: February 2015, Kangaroo Service Animals in Wisconsin.

Here are some things I’ve heard this week:

Getting measles are better than the vaccine for them.

I don’t care if my kids make yours gravely sick. (This was from a doctor)

Employees shouldn’t have to wash their hands after using the bathroom. (US Congressman)

A woman was upset that her kangaroo service animal wasn’t allowed in a Wisconsin McDonald’s.

A Utah congressman unironically asks if it’s really rape if the sex is with an unconscious person.

Today I went against my conscience. I defended Jenny McCarthy. I defended her over this sentence: “…a prestigious medical journal and a Playboy Playmate of the Year made strange bedfellows in laying the foundation for the anti-vaccine movement.”

There are two options that I see here. The Jesuit priest pursuing his doctorate in public health chose his words carefully and intentionally and made the word play of Playboy Playmate, bedfellows, and lay, implying that the “prestigious medical journal” was by comparison above reproach or he did this unintentionally, thereby illustrating the deep seated misogyny and rape culture we live in and don’t realize it. How many of us giggled in reading that?

Was he intimating a higher moral high ground; prestige vs. Playboy?

Maybe I’m being overly sensitive.

Maybe not.

So this prestigious medical journal took the word of a fraud and a fraudulent study and that’s equivalent to a mother (who happens to have a large platform) who is trying to protect her son. She’s not an expert. She’s not supposed to be. She’s doing what we tell all parents to do: be informed. She’s a mother, trying to find answers and being given them by a fraud who was validated by a prestigious medical journal.

But she’s to blame for the anti-vaccine movement, right?

It’s disgusting.

I’m disgusted.

And I’m speaking out.

For the rest of this month, I’ll be using the hashtag #savemefromthestupid and I will be sharing links to articles with all of the stupid I find. I won’t go looking for it, but I have a feeling there will be plenty to post.

This is only the sixth of February; not even a full week in the shortest month and every incident I mentioned above is from this week.

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