Because Childless People Care About Global Health, Too

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 10.13.49 PMNewsflash: If you don’t have children, you don’t matter. If you choose not to engage in unprotected sex, if you choose not to adopt, if you happen to not have found the perfect person with whom you want to spend at least 21 years of your life, then you don’t matter. Never mind that you are still a citizen of this country and GLOBE, your opinions are for naught and much of what you say is like screaming into the ether. This is one thing that blogging has taught me.

Perhaps I have been forced into this line of thinking due to who I have chosen to interact with during my blogging tenure. I do not have any offspring — not because I would like to be childfree but because it just hasn’t happened as of yet. So, I am childless and according to many — on the Internet and beyond — that makes me an undesirable. This despite caring deeply about the things that many of those with children find themselves tossing and turning over each night.

For example, education. I am passionate about public education and closing the achievement gap. I believe in community schools and ensuring that minority children and those living in rural areas are given the best possible education. I believe in Title I funding and that the money should not follow the child in some pseudo-voucher scam but should go to the school. I believe that 99% of the educators I encounter each day are in it for good but it’s the 1% who are able to ruin the whole lot. I yearn for changes in or education system that ensure equity because education is a  community issue. It drives our economy, it drives our future.

It’s August and not only the start of another school year for so many but the start of  “Blogust”. If you haven’t heard of “Blogust” it’s a campaign between the United Nations Foundation’s Shot @ Life program and well-known bloggers. Each day of August a blogger writes about their experience with vaccinations and with each comment received a dollar amount goes to a child in need of vaccinations.

Can a comment make a difference? With Blogust, it can. Each day we will bring you a personal story about moments that matter. Every time you comment, you will unlock a donation to purchase a life-saving vaccine for children around the world who need them most.

It sounds amazing right? Something that I along with so many would want to be a part of because vaccinations much like all issues dealing with health care and then back to my original point with education, all of these things affect the community at large. They affect the future of the human race in this country and all over the world. It’s fairly simple: without proper health care people will die. Without vaccinations people will die. This isn’t a post about whether or not vaccinations are wrong or right or how to delay the vaccination schedule or the ills of Jenny McCarthy, this is about how people – no matter the number of progeny they have brought forth in this world – should care about other people. I am one of those without children who care.

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So color me disappointed when Blogust rolled around this year and nary a childless (or childfree) person was attached to this project. I mentioned it on Twitter because I was annoyed and I care about vaccinations, too, man! I am part of the “herd” that provides for “herd immunity” in the event that parents choose not to vaccinate. I am part of this world, am I not? The response from Shot @ Life was very…balanced. No controversy there. Non-parents are welcome! Join in! And then I went to look at the Blogust page and the participating bloggers: All parents. As someone asked when I expressed my annoyance with once again being left out when it comes to COMMUNITY-WIDE issues; “Isn’t it parents who make the decisions about their child’s vaccination?” Yes. They are but vaccinations are about global health (sorry, but I really want to drive that point home) and I am part of the globe therefore I care.

I still remember when I got the MMR vaccination booster and getting my polio booster. I got my meningitis vaccination recently enough and narrowly missed out on the HPV vaccination. Because I was an adult during the meningitis and HPV years I read up and educated myself on both because that’s what people who want to stay healthy and want those around them to remain healthy do. Hey, if people choose not to get either vaccination that’s the prerogative of the parent but because I have chosen to be vaccinated (and to receive boosters) I am doing my part as one of 7 billion to keep others healthy. And that’s why I am frustrated. It’s not a parent or a non-parent thing but health care is a human thing and to think that simply because I have no children then my opinion on such is invalid is infuriating.

I’ve been told that those working on the Shot@Life program and Blogust will be looking into my queries. I’ve also been told that anyone can become a Shot@Life champion, which I encourage. My point here isn’t to put what Shot@Life is doing on blast and discourage participation because what they are doing is a great thing and needed worldwide. I am just (forcefully, loudly) pointing out that as a childless person I care, too. And that I live here, on this Earth, too.

Keep the conversation going with Heather Barmore at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue, Twitter and Facebook.

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