When I was young, I used to work at sports camps and I enjoyed messing with the younger kids. I'd ask trivia questions all the time, but then I'd slip a piece of nonsense like, "Is it colder in New York or in the winter?"
That question comes to mind every time I hear an anti-vaxxer speak. These people are back in the news because a disease that should no longer exist is making a roaring comeback. Imagine that: a disease that was the scourge of the planet completely eradicated. That should be cause for universal jubilation. Instead, the disease is back because of an unholy confluence of crackpot politics and anti-science dumb-ass-ery.
What is perhaps most frustrating is that the entire anti-vaxxer (bowel) movement began with a fake study conducted by a fake doctor using fake(d) data. This idiot made the specious claim that there is a link between vaccinations and autism. There is no such link; never has been, never will be. But the falsehoods were picked up by a few dumbasses, who then spread it exponentially to other dumbasses, and here we are. The study was completely debunked and the guy who did it lost his medical license but the false news was out there and it spread like pollen on the wind.
It got picked up by the fringe right as an anti-government screed and then became a cause celebre for Republican politicians. Together, this cabal created a controversy where none had existed. They started carving out exceptions to the law for people who are "philosophically" opposed to vaccinations. That's the same as being religiously opposed to electricity. What's most disappointing is that the typical anti-vaxxer is a suburban woman with at least some college. Just enough education to be ignorant.
For many years, Arizona has allowed people to be openly and proudly anti-science. Actually, in general, that's OK. Not everybody can be smart. But neither should our state legislators conflate dumbass-ery with nobility. It was never a good idea to allow people to opt out of vaccinating their children because Jerry Springer told them not to. And now, with measles coming back because not enough kids are being vaccinated, what do our moronic legislators want to do? They want to make it easier to opt out for no good reason whatsoever.
It reached a new low last week when State Representative Kelly Townsend claimed that vaccinations are not American, but rather "communist." Townsend's daughter has epilepsy, which Townsend (without any scientific evidence whatsoever to back her up) claims was caused by childhood vaccinations. Townsend says that no amount of scientific evidence will convince her otherwise, which is why she refused to have her second child vaccinated.
"My son's body is sovereign," says Townsend. "The line of me is that the government does not have authority to inject him with something and put him at risk."
I mostly agree with her. She should not be forced into it. The fact that 99.9 percent of the population with triple-digit IQs understand that vaccinations are in the best interest of the child and society as a whole doesn't really matter. She doesn't want the kid to be healthy, that's fine (to a point). But that kid should not be allowed to go to school with normal kids. That's where the line should be drawn.
But every time the New York part of the question (allowing them to infect other kids) comes up, Townsend and the rest jump to the winter part and scream sovereignty. They need to realize that, in life, you gotta give something to get something. You don't want your kid vaccinated, fine. Just keep him away from healthy kids. Y'all can go gather in a village like in that really bad M. Night Shymalan movie. The men can dress like Cotton Mather and the women can watch their kids die from childhood diseases.
To be fair, Townsend wasn't the only elected person to spout stupidity last week. State Senator Eddie Farnsworth, who has banked millions of our tax dollars by operating a charter-school scheme (that's pronounced "scam"), will probably vote against a bill that would make it illegal to text while driving. His argument: "If I put (my phone) to the side and it falls on the floor under my feet, I can't legally even pick it up."
Why not use some of those millions that you fleeced us out of to buy a car with hands-free technology. Or hire a kid who "graduated" from one of your charter schools and have him ride around with you, holding the phone up while you blab away. You can even pay him less than minimum wage.
Representative Paul Gosar made a complete fool of himself during the Michael Cohen hearings in the House. First he brought along a poster that read "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire." Then he struggled to put together coherent sentences in his questioning on Cohen. Daniel Webster, he's not.
My favorite Gosar quote is: "We are not a democracy. We are a constitutional republic. That is why we have, um, two ways, both from a democracy, voting, and then from...the, uh, where we have the, um, Electoral College. So make sure we get that straight."
As Olsen Johnson said of Gabby Johnson in the film classic "Blazing Saddles," that's authentic frontier gibberish.