One of the clearest measures of a society can be found in its public school system. For example, it is no accident that in totalitarian states, such as North Korea, what may be taught comes directly from the government. Children are indoctrinated early to believe their "Dear Leader" never is wrong even though many do not have enough food to eat. And in war-torn countries or those which are deeply divided by religious differences there are few, if any, functioning public schools.
By contrast the United States has a proud history of public education for all of its children. Or at least it did. I have watched as American public schools have gone from generally good to abysmal because of the many changes in our society and because of government meddling. From forced school- busing to classes taught in every language except English, to removing "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, our State and Federal Governments have been butting into the business of local schools for more than 30 years and the schools are the worse for it.
One of the latest developments in public education is that schools believe they are the de facto parents of the children who attend them. With so many children living with only one parent or two parents who work, with who knows who looking after them, it is no wonder. Now some States are trying to require girls entering the sixth grade to be immunized against something called HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), a virus that only can be transmitted through sex and which causes certain kinds of cancer. What does that say about our public schools and about the state of our culture?
There are so many things wrong with the idea -- and the fact that the immunizations would be mandatory rather than voluntary -- that it is difficult to know where to begin. However, I shall try. First, the obvious: what do we know about the vaccine? We know it is made by Merck & Company, Inc., a very large pharmaceutical firm that has been busy hiring lobbyists and advertising the drug, called Gardasil (registered trademark), in magazines and on television. We know that immunization consists of a series of three shots at a cost of approximately $400.00 per child and that making the vaccine mandatory is a Merck goal. We know that Merck lobbyists have descended upon State capitals throughout the country and created a group called Women in Government, which has samples of the "correct" legislation posted on its website. And we know that the Federal Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine late last year.