I am no activist. I am an advocate for public health issues, and I certainly like to speak my mind. Yet I have never in my life gone so far as to even write a personal letter about a cause, political, social or otherwise.
That’s why I am trying to figure out how the decision to hire known anti-immunization, anti-science celebrity Jenny McCarthy for the Bust-a-Move event in support of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation has spurred me into action.
Yesterday I was on Twitter, tweeting and retweeting the #dropjenny hashtag. Today, I’ve written a letter to Dr. Susan Dent, the medical advisor to the organizing committee of Bust-a-Move, a letter to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, and a letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen (shared in the next post) which may or may not be published… you get the idea. I’m frustrated.
Why is this particular decision getting under my skin?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
- I like science and the scientific method.
- I used to do paid work promoting the most important public health measure in recent history, immunization for all Canadians. In that position, I was exposed daily to the underhanded tactics of the anti-vaccine movement, and I also interacted regularly with those who had lost loved ones or suffered from vaccine-preventable diseases.
- My son has asthma; immunization for him and those around him help to keep him healthier.
- My son’s school has diagnosed him with Asperger’s syndrome (though the diagnosis has since been questioned by several professionals who work with him and know him well; that’s another story). The pseudoscience that Ms. McCarthy spouts related to autism spectrum disorders is scary and harmful to vulnerable families and children.
- Bust-A-Move is an event in which many friends and acquaintances take part. I have been and will be asked to support it. I have to say no to requests if an anti-science, anti-vaccine activist is involved.
Now let me hear it. What do you think?