The Antifas of the Vaccination debate

Most of us have heard about Antifa.  They are a far-left militant political group.  They use violence and bullying to get people to succumb to their way.  They will scream you down, mob attack, they aren’t afraid of violence or the police.  In fact, they often attack police.

What do they have to do with vaccination?  Directly, not much but I live in Boston and this weekend there was an event titled “Freedom Speech Rally”.   Follow me on this.  I will get to the connection.

The organizer of the event was a college kid.  He invited lots of different people and groups to speak, including a female Deaconess who promotes marijuana, Boston Black Lives Matter reps and Senate Candidates.  His idea was to have all platforms and people speak, express their views and go on about their day.  Unfortunately, because of a tragedy in Charlottesville earlier in the month, the event was labeled a White Supremacist rally.  Somehow, the rumors began to spread that the  KKK and Neo Nazi’s would be attending despite repeated statements from the organizers.   The media took this and ran.  Soon, many were outraged that the KKK and Neo-Nazis would DARE step foot in our city.  They planned counter-protests and the numbers grew rapidly.   The Mayor held a press conference denouncing hate.  Some organizations were using this rally to raise donations for reparations: “the local Black Lives Matter chapter, which has been soliciting gifts to its Strategic Resistance and Response Fund, has already raised almost $30,000″.

Organizers of a counterprotest to what’s being called a free speech rally in Boston say they expect as many as 20,000 to 30,000 people to join them.

Boston-area leaders of Black Livers Matter said Friday that they don’t buy claims that the rally planned for Saturday is not about white supremacy.

The Boston Free Speech Coalition says its rally Saturday has nothing to do with white nationalism. It also says it’s not affiliated with the organizers of a rally in Charlottesville last weekend that erupted into violence and left one person dead.

Boston Police and the Mayor put strict guidelines in place, fully expecting trouble:

Police say backpacks that are brought to the rally will be subject to search and the following items will be banned:

  • Firearms, knives, weapons, sharp objects, shields or fireworks
  • Pop-up tents or canopies
  • Cans, glass containers, pre-mixed beverages or alcoholic beverages
  • Wagons or pull carts
  • Coolers
  • Drones
  • Pets (excluding certified service animals)
  • Grills, propane tanks or open flames
  • Bicycles
  • Flag poles, bats, clubs and sticks, including signs attached to sticks
  • Any athletic equipment or other item which could be used as a weapon

“If anything gets out of hand,” Walsh adds, “we will shut it down.”

Antifa-protesters-face-off-with-free-speech-rally-in-Boston-768x432

More photos from the rally:

 

See, the counter-protestors bought into the myth that this rally was about White Supremacy.   Some came in fully outraged.  Some came in hoping to change minds.  Other came in with deeply set views on what “free speech” should mean.

Here is a Senate candidate’s tweet after the rally.  His photo is attached.  I ask you, does this look like hate?

doctor

Have you ever come across some of the pro vaccine advocates on Twitter or Facebook?  Let’s take a look (for the sake of not offending, I’ve only included a few mild ones).

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There are well-intended people on the pro vaccination side.  They believe what they’ve been told and they feel vaccines indeed save lives.  I will give them a pass.  Where I draw the line is threats, insults and trying to demean and discredit concerned, educated parents.  The Boston Herald called for Anti-Vaccine Parents and promoters to be hanged.  Many agreed.

Antifa doesn’t want others being heard.

Pro Vaccine advocates don’t want us heard.

Fortunately for us, we still have freedom of speech in this country (for now).  The most important thing that was missed during the Boston Rally was research and understanding.  Yes, we need to deal with hate speech on all levels but shouting others down and silencing their voice is not the answer.

What are a few misconceptions are out there about us?  What can we do to have our voices heard?

#1 – All parents who question vaccine safety are anti-vaxxers!   Untrue.  There is a broad spectrum of parents who question vaccine safety.  Yes, there are those who do not vaccinate at all.  Those who did and now don’t (regret parents), those who delay and those who space them out.

#2 – The whole Anti-Vaccine movement started with either Jenny McCarthy or Andrew Wakefield.  Untrue.  While both of those people have been invaluable in bringing a voice to people who felt they didn’t have one, the AV movement has been around since the creation of vaccines – look up William Tebb, a British activist who fought against vaccination in the 1870s and beyond.   Penalties of refusing vaccination have been around since the beginning as well.  The Vaccination Act of 1853 ordered mandatory vaccination with penalties for refusing.  In 1885 the town of Leicester had an anti-vaccination march estimated 100k people.

#3 – Parents who don’t vaccinate are usually white and rich or dirty and uneducated or conspiracy theorist.  Untrue.   The stereotypes don’t work in politics, race relations or vaccination.  We’ve got to stop putting everyone in 1 box.  There are people all over and from every background questioning vaccination from single moms in Idaho to Doctors in NYC.

#4 – “If we yell over them and make them feel stupid, they will start vaccinating”.  A common tactic is to throw the word “science” into the conversation.  There are pages like “Do you even Science, Bro?”  that take aim at Anti-Vaccine people and views.  Making fun of or making threats to people who only have their children’s safety in mind is unlikely to work.  AV parents haven’t just jumped into this arena without knowing the risks and ridicule we face.  Bullying and shaming will not work.

It is not our job to convince anyone of anything.  It is our right to voice our concerns and make informed decisions about our own children.  That right is being threatened by those who cannot or will not hear us.  Free speech may seem like it’s something trivial when it comes to “shutting down hate” but what about when it comes for us?

How can you help?

Attend:  CDC Rally:  CDC Atlanta Protest

Attend: Texas Medical Freedom Rally

Join:  Vaccine Awareness and Education Network

Learn:  Dr. Suzanne Humphries

Support:  Vaxxed on Amazon Prime

 

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