If you’re not familiar with Ethan Lindenberger, it’s probably because he’s been spared from an unfortunate media nickname like “Vaccine Kid” or “Reverse MotherBoy”? (Never ask me to name things.) Anyway, jokes aside, Ethan is a goddamn hero who’s been making headlines ever since he set off on a quest to get himself vaccinated when he turned 18, after being raised by parents who he described in a Reddit thread as “kind of stupid.” Which is accurate because, according to Ethan, his folks are Christian conservative wackos who believe vaccinations are a government plot and have been abusing the religious exemption to shotgun holes in their local herd immunity by repeatedly pumping out kids. They’re already up to seven, and I assume more are on the way, so the odds of them birthing a Patient Zero are looking good.
On Tuesday, Ethan was invited to speak in front of a Senate subcommittee about his experience, which is pretty amazing given the Senate is controlled by a party who continually trips over itself to protect a racist, DayGlo vat of blubber who spreads the exact brand of stupid shit that Ethan is testifying against.
Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2014
To the surprise of no one, social media played a prominent role in Ethan’s Senate testimony, and he believes that Facebook radicalized his mom’s anti-vaxxer beliefs.
From the Washington Post:
“I feel like if my mom didn’t interact with that information, and she wasn’t swayed by those arguments and stories, it could’ve potentially changed everything,” he said. “My entire family could’ve been vaccinated.”
Lindenberger said that he believed his older siblings, who predate Facebook, had been vaccinated. He said his younger siblings have not.
And here’s where I feel for this poor kid, because finding out your family are zombie-eyed zealots who will never change their worldview and you’ll forever be ostracized for not thinking like them is a special kick in the teeth. Good times.
In his testimony, he said he approached his mother repeatedly in an attempt to sway her views. In one instance, he cited the CDC. His mother replied, ‘That’s what they want you to think.’ ”
In arguments with his mother, Lindenberger said she would repeatedly make claims and rely on information from Facebook that had no real attribution or backing. Some of the facts are conspiracy theories, including a claim that the CDC is funded by Big Pharma, who pays the agency to push vaccines.
“She didn’t trust any sources,” he told The Post. “She thought vaccines were a conspiracy by the government to kill children.”
Goddammit. Just hang in there, kid. You’re doing the right thing, and I probably don’t have to tell you this, but ignore this asshole.
From The Daily Beast:
“It is wrong to say that there are no risks to vaccines,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said during the session, voicing opposition to mandatory shots. He later added, “I believe that the benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks, but I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security.”
Yeah, no. Dangerous morons are exploiting exemptions to lower herd immunity and that’s why diseases that were eradicated decades ago are coming back, you libertarian fart-waffle. Unless, of course, you talk to Ethan’s mom who believes vaccines are bringing back polio. Sonofabitch.
Still, Wheeler remains staunch in her dismissals, arguing that she believes many vaccines are unnecessary and even harmful. “Polio, if you really research polio, it was almost completely eradicated, almost gone, there was almost no cases of polio when they introduced the oral vaccine,” she said. “The oral vaccine started giving people polio. And it went from almost completely eradicated, to the numbers were shooting, sky-rocketing back up, from immunizations.”
Literally none of that true. As for how Wheeler is handling her son’s decision to get vaccinated and openly express his heartbreaking and correct concern for his two-year-old sister navigating a world where vaccine rates are dropping, she’s, uh, not taking it well.
“It was like him spitting on me,” she continued, “saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it.’”
Well, he shouldn’t have trusted you. Especially when you say things like your next move is to literally up the brainwashing on your other kids. What the hell?
Wheeler says that her experience with Ethan has convinced her to start talking to her younger children about why she has chosen to skip their vaccinations. “It has opened my eyes,” Wheeler said, “to say ‘I better educate them now. Not wait until they’re 18.’ But I need to start educating my 16-year-old, and my 14-year-old now, saying this is why I don’t believe in it.”
Ethan, if you’re reading this, keep doing what you’re doing. Go to college, continue questioning literally everything your parents have ever told you — particularly the Jesus stuff — and don’t give up on encouraging your siblings to follow in your footsteps. What you’re doing is no easy thing, and you’ll never 100 percent come to peace with the rift between your folks, but it’s the right thing.
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