I really don’t understand people sometimes. Check that… I really don’t understand people most of the time. I specially don’t understand the need for labels. Yes, I label people at times, mostly “antivaxxers.” But I label them because that’s what they are. If they are against vaccines, then they’re “antivaxxers,” plain and simple. I stay away from labels like “idiots” or “morons,” or worse. It’s hard to do sometimes.
What I don’t understand is when people label me as a “liberal” or a “conservative” when they don’t even know me. They do so based on something I write, some comment I make, or something I send out to the world via social media. On the subject of guns, if I say that parents with small children in the household should put their guns in a safe place or use gun locks, then I’m being a liberal. If I then say that the government should take away guns (i.e. property) without due process, then I’m being a conservative. And then, if I say that there are twice the number of suicides as there are homicides and that most of those are done via firearm — and that people with mental health problems should have their access to firearms restricted — then I’m being a liberal.
On the subject of abortion. If I say that we need to work to have better alternatives to abortion, then I’m being a conservative. If I say that the relationship between a woman and her physician is sacred and that the government should not be messing with it, then I’m being a liberal… Unless I’m talking about Obamacare, then having bureaucrats in Washington messing with doctor-patient relationships is wrong, and I’m a conservative. Then I say that it will always be my wife’s choice to do with her own body what she wants and I’m a liberal.
On vaccines, if I say that all children using public education should be vaccinated with only legitimate medical exemptions being allowed, I’m being a liberal. Then I turn it around and say that the government is not the best means to make sure everyone is vaccinated and that effective public health discussions and guidance from knowledgeable physicians is better, then I get called a conservative.
I’m neither, guys. I’m all over the goddamned political spectrum. I’m not a capitalist because I believe that we should keep as much of the money that we make as we can. I’m not a socialist because I believe that whatever taxes we do pay should be used to bring the poor out of poverty. Likewise, I’m not a religious zealot because I follow a religion, and I’m not an atheist because I think science trumps belief.
I mean, Jesus Christ! (Of Nazareth? Yes.) Before you go picking a fight with me on social media, or by posting some accusatory comment on my blog, read my entire body of work. Read it for comprehension if you must. I’m not this or that. Like most people in the world, I am multidimensional and complex, sometimes too complex for my own good. So lay off, will you?
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
About History of Vaccines: I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please read the About page on the site for more information.
About Epidemiological: I am the sole contributor to Epidemiological, my personal blog to discuss all sorts of issues. It also has an About page you should check out.