There are many things I don’t understand. I accept that all right. Sometimes I think I know a lot, only to be reminded fairly quickly that I don’t. I admit it — it can get a little rough living with a head as hard as mine. There are a few things, however, that I feel I understand comfortably. Sitting in your running car with the garage door closed is a bad thing. Washing hands before eating is a good thing. Sky-diving without a parachute is a bad thing. Getting a vaccination to fight off potential invaders is a good thing.

However, in a moment of heightened insensibility, one presidential candidate disagreed with that last statement.

I am pretty sure the majority has already heard about Michele Bachmann’s ignorant remark made during a live interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show. Previous to the interview, Bachmann criticized fellow White House competitor Gov. Rick Perry for mandating all 12-year-old girls in the state of Texas to receive the vaccination.

I completely agree with Michele on this one. While I encourage every eligible person to receive vaccinations to fight off diseases, the act of forcing every individual to receive one or all vaccinations goes a bit too far. The GOP is all about less or no government intervention in the lives of its citizens, and taking personal responsibility to get things done. Perry overstepped his bounds when this executive order was made.

With that said, what Michele said on live, national television is inexcusable. She classified the human papillomavirus vaccination as “dangerous,” citing an alleged swift conversation she had with an individual who approached her after the Tampa GOP debate. The individual, a mother, claimed that the HPV vaccination caused mental retardation in her young daughter.

Whether this conversation took place, I don’t know. I do know, however, that what Michele said will have a rippling effect that could last for years. Her unfounded claim will be a cause for people to doubt their doctors and experts who have tested and retested these vaccinations and have declared them as safe for mass reception. Supporters and non-supporters of Michele, who may not even attribute their thoughts of “vaccination hesitancy” to her, will find themselves second-guessing when it comes time for a booster injection.

Everyone, please raise your glasses and exclaim a “hip-hip-hoorah!” for public health.

Since her remarks, she has been trying to do some damage control, repeating (nearly verbatim) with late-night talk show hosts and with early-morning television personalities that she is neither a scientist nor a doctor. I second that motion.

I feel that her fear of the HPV vaccination might be based somewhere else, and not at all in its safety for human injection. Michele, an extremely conservative and staunch churchgoer, probably feels that girls who have received the HPV vaccination may become more promiscuous by finding a false sense of “STD safety” in the countermeasure.

If this were the case, she must realize that she subscribes to a set of standards that not every other American may subscribe to. She may have good intentions, but do as all good Republicans do, Michele — let people make their own decisions.

The damage has been done already. Just to show my support for vaccinations, I went out and got my first of three installments of the HPV vaccination. No, not for cervical cancer’s sake. No, not for being-immune-to-an-STD-so-that-I-can-be-sexually-active’s sake. Simply for the sake of my health and the health of my future and only companion. And no, ladies, I am not engaged (. . . yet — hint, hint).

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