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What Will We Tell Our Children?

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When I try to answer my children’s questions, I am so furious that I can barely speak.

I choose my words slowly. “Many grownups around you have failed.” 

Never have I wished so strongly to be wrong than when I remember predictions I made back in March of 2020. And instead, for almost two years and counting, we have collectively failed and keep failing at the primary goal of any society: protecting our children.

The sum total of youth Covid policy comes down to this: millions of kids wearing masks in school, being told to stay away from each other and obsessively avoid germs, and receiving vaccines en masse that they likely do not need. 

Why are so few of us speaking up for the children?

“Always be skeptical,” I tell my children, “of anyone who wants you to be scared. Thoughtless fear is dangerous, and one should always try to make decisions when calm. Grownups haven’t been doing a good job of this lately.” 

And here is the ultimate crime against our children, perpetuated by two administrations thus far: censorship and removal of jobs and licenses from thousands of respected doctors and researchers who disagree with the dominant Covid narrative, while repeatedly ignoring and ridiculing their simple and honorable message: “Early Covid treatment saves lives.” 

This censorship and canceling does not “stop misinformation:” it interrupts the scientific process itself, and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of all who wish to live in a democratic society. And yes, it is still censorship if you urge private companies to do the dirty work for you, again and again.

“Kiddos,” I say, “science is something you DO, not a dogma to be obeyed. And we can all do science, and learn how to think scientifically.”

Many have recently and repeatedly urged our children to “listen to the experts.” To which I respond: a democratic society depends upon education, and not the rote and submissive variety. If we want one of those Democracies, we owe it to our children to model the complexity and necessity of using our brains to come up with our own opinions, in addition to learning what “experts” believe.

“But Mama, they wouldn’t make kids do these things if they were DANGEROUS…would they, Mama?”

And I have to look at my children and blink away tears, because yes: in the current social moment, we adults are allowing our society to slip ever further into Pharma totalitarianism.

“Okay, but Miss Matilsky, these vaccines are safe and effective, and masks are Not a Big Deal Anyway, so why get angry now? The kids should Do Their Part to social-distance, and Slow the Spread!”

Masks are actually part of a very big deal for children, because they interfere with every aspect of normal social functioning, and raising an entire generation of kids to believe that hiding their faces is normal, and that it plus “testing” completes their civic duty toward our collective public health. 

This is both shameful and a lie. There is not and has never been evidence justifying community-wide mask wearing (and the equally shamefully enormous quantity of plastic garbage that comes from it). It would be nice if masks worked well to protect their wearers and those around them from contagious disease, but they don’t. 

Study after study refutes their benefit in community settings, and we can see around us that people spread Covid even when masks are worn scrupulously, even while statistical epidemiology modeling supports the possibility that they might slow the spread.if they were thicker, bigger, more widely worn. 

I am reminded of the plan to use smaller dinner plates, which in turn was supposed to reduce portion sizes and therefore cause widespread weight loss! But oh, wait…this was similarly a case of wishful theories being confused with actual results. 

Ultimately: no amount of ever thicker and more stringently-worn masks, nor fanatic germ-avoidance, will ever make up for the true public health measures that do increase of resistance to contagious disease: ensuring access to clean water, clean air, and clean, fresh, wholesome food, not to mention meeting our human need to gather socially for work, relaxation and spiritual pursuits.

And here we grownups must stop beating around the bush, and face the most shameful fact of all: condoning regulatory capture by pharmaceutical companies has become the defining feature in Covid policy mismanagement by two administrations. 

Why should we trust them with our children’s health for even one moment, let alone rely on their press releases to guide public policy? 

Presidents Trump and Biden, you should be ashamed to have been taken in by these corporations so incredibly adept at manipulation. We need leaders who can identify and protect children from the effects of such bullying.

It is not for me to decide if a vaccine is the right choice for you or your child. And it absolutely is up to me to insist that anyone trying to convince me to accept a medical treatment on my child’s behalf should never promote, pressure, or discuss the matter with my child separately from me (i.e. in schools or anywhere else, or by requiring a medical treatment, test, or vaccine for admission); and not be in the business of marketing their drugs to me for profit. 

We failed our children when we made them put their lives on hold while we adults squabbled for two years, and now we fail them even further, while we let politicians and epidemiologists and drug companies experiment with their bodies for reasons that leave nobody healthier, while exposing them to known and unknown risks from policies that aren’t reducing transmission, cases, or the Covid death rate.

How incredibly lonely for our children, to be masked and told to interact with others only cautiously…because so many grownups around them are so fearful and unwilling to learn some of the basic principles of cell biology and scientific inquiry that our kids are supposed to be learning in grade school. 

How shameful to coerce medical treatment on those who stand to benefit the least. How on earth will we build up enough trust in our government and our systems if we can’t admit our mistakes and apologize to our children, the way we make them do when they’re wrong?

Step up to the plate, grownups. It’s the least we can do for the generation that will have to care for our messes when we’re old; it would be nice if today’s kids could have productive, meaningful, healthy lives first.

Author

  • Sarabeth Matilsky writes about her family’s unschooling adventures, trying to find as much humor as she can.


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