February 24, 2007

cowgirl conservative

Ugh. I have problems. I read blogs, and they don't help. Fricka frack.

I'm a Republican. I'm not a Libertarian. I say this because I've never voted Libertarian, except where that was the only option. While some of the socially charged arguments make me wish I were Libertarian, I like conservatism. I like a love of capitalism. I loathe dependence, even on my own ideology, still, I will probably always vote Republican because the important issues outweigh the social strife that I doubt we will ever have agreement on anyway.

That being said, I'm socially something else. I shudder to think liberal, but yeah, pretty much. In my social mindset, I don't like any bought and paid for politician spending ONE tax dollar discussing my uterus, sexual orientation, stem cells, etcetera. In my mind, those are matters of individuals and their scientists/doctors only.

Imagine my suprise to find myself on the other side for once? The controversy in Texas these days is about the state mandated vaccine for school girls against HPV. HPV being a known contributing factor leading to cervical cancer in women. Again, I'm at a loss to understand the outrage I hear.

The first bit of controversy concerns our greedy governor Rick Perry, who on the same day he declared that school girls would be required to have the immunization, accepted $50k in campaign funds from the company that developed the vaccine, Merck.

There is no question in my mind that the two events were separate. Fifty thousand dollars seems like chump change to me and probably an expected sum from a donor the size of Merck with at much at stake in all levels of federal and state politics. We are talking about a contribution to the campaign of one of the largest and most influential state's republican governors? Fifty K? Really, you think that's worth this shitstorm to Perry? I think greed comes at much higher price tags in this country these days and if you think 50k would do it, you are not in touch with reality IMHO.

And another thing regarding the 50k, how much would Merck have to spend on advertisements to bring their miracle vaccine to the forefront as Perry so aptly did? How many pharma ads can you count in an hour of primetime television? What does that cost? Nationwide news headlines? 50K? I'm calling Perry the next time my marketing ship takes on water. This is a public relations wet dream, is it not?

I won't even start about how no one agrees exactly how much money was given (even in quoting the same source-the AP). Why go there? Let's assume the worst allegation at $50,000, and it still doesn't hold water with me. $5,000 and the allegation of greed is total nonsense.

Secondly, there is the ethical dilemna. Conservatives are appalled at the implication that their bought and paid for monkey is now basically accusing their pristine daughters of doing the nasty in high school. MY WORD! It can't be!

I again find myself appalled at the utter quicksand people find themselves incased in. So what if your daughter doesn't have premarital sex? Isn't this an immunization, preventing the disease from occurence ever? Even later in life in marriage? That's what I ignorantly understood. The reason for the young age being targeted for immunization, I thought, was just because it is found to be effective in girls aged 16-26 (or, as it says in the article referenced, "before sexually active").

Red went off telling me how her daughter never engaged in premarital sex and how appalling it is to have a governor insist on this. And while I said it, no politicians invited below the chastity belt, I actually know a person that died from cervical cancer. A person that meant a great deal to me. A person that vastly impacted what would be a much more worthless life without her. Who knows, maybe this treatment will prevent my dearly departed's granddaughter from sharing the same fate. And I just can't get all bent out of shape about the social implications of my governor's decision.

Third, there is the issue of finance. Apparantly, the immunization is a three shot process that costs about $360. Wow. I agree that is absorbitant for the average family, especially, if unlike me, you are blessed with little girls. Can you imagine a family of five? Yikes.

Still, I think the governor by making this windfall income stream for Merck is in every position to negotiate a state-wide discount. You know, if the state requires it and the doctors can't viably provide the vaccine, the cost will come down.

I used to take my dogs and cats to these pop up veterinary vaccination stations back in college. You could buy vaccines for your animals for 5 bucks or so, and all you had to do was wait in a line early on saturday morning. It was worth it to me. I predict the same for America's female youth. I know if I could prevent my kid from getting the smallpox of our generation, I'd find a way. Capitalism works, believe in it.

Fourth, I readily admit that I don't have girls so I'm not impacted directly by this decision. Although I do have two overactive ovaries and know the female mind firsthand. I don't think the governor's decision can stick based on logistics alone. Too much regulation needed to require the vaccine at this early stage. Still, I like the way the media, from national news down to the blog world, is eating up this debate with a spoon. POLARRHOIDS!! This is what I mean: you even found a way to hate a major medical breakthrough on every front.

Please find me one positive article on how many lives this vaccine could potentially spare? Nah, you're right. What would be the point of that? It's only preventing some cancer, no freaking biggie.

In the comments, please me with your thoughts on these four areas: 1) Is this a greed driven action? 2) Do you think it's fair for a culture that creates Britney Spears and Paris Hilton for teens to idolize, to then feign sexual piety of their female teen population? Back to this planet, folks, and by the way, your daughter's g string is showing, and so is your wife's. 3) Do you think normal market mechanics will bring down the cost of this vaccine and finally, 4) Have you heard anythng positive that has resonated with you concerning this debate in the media of late?

Thanks for reading this, if you did and I look forward to reading your commentary. Have a nice Saturday and enjoy your sweet families and friends.

Posted by shoe at February 24, 2007 11:28 AM | TrackBack


It's not only Texas that Merck is an issue.

It was also trying Oklahoma, but failed

I have 3 nieces that fall into the age bracket and feel it is another nanny knows best and the parents don't.

Posted by: jerry at February 24, 2007 12:07 PM

Interesting post. 1) there is money involved, but I agree that for Perry, it was not enough to motivate. It is capitalism, and Merck. 2) You nailed a key item - we tend to think things happen to other people - not in my family. 3) eventually the cost will come down. 4) I have heard nothing positive. Actually, I read somewhere that the vaccine is only good for a few years (5?), and then needs to be re-administered. If true, it may be a factor to consider.
I don't have kids myself, but have to admit that for my young nieces, I want to know more about this, and if it really can do some good, then the realist in me may just support this.

Posted by: jck at February 24, 2007 03:51 PM

Shoe, you're a good mom. I trust you to look out for the well-being of your kids. Gov Perry I ain't so sure of. Like you, I have no moral or ethical objection to any vaccine. But I do have a problem with government appointing itself nanny. No woman who fails to get the vaccine will pose a dire healthy risk to any other person - unless of course they're risk takers, in which case the Gods of the Copybook Headings will catch up with them sooner or later anyway.

Posted by: Bob at February 25, 2007 01:03 AM

Great post darlin'. Let's see if I can be coherent.

1) 50K not enough to make it "greed".

2) I'm of a mind that the state/feds need to keep their nose outta our business. Cervical cancer is not HIV or a major epidemic. I look at it like smoking. If I chose NOT to listen to the good advice of doctors and such, and continue to smoke, it's MY problem. MY health.

Just my .02 cents worth.......

Posted by: Tammi at February 25, 2007 04:33 PM

First of all, it's a sexually transmitted disease and nobody's precious little girl is going to get it through simple face-to-face contact. So no, contrary to the analogy used, it's most definitely not "the smallpox of our generation", Shoe. Second, the fact that Britney and Paris are considered teens idols does not justify the government usurpation of private individual's rights. Finally, this is not an example of the triumph of capitalism, Shoe. Merck should feel free to make as much profits as they can but government mandates should not be required to secure those profits.

Suggested reading:

Posted by: zonker at February 25, 2007 10:46 PM


sorry for my exagerration with the smallpox analogy. i never said you could get HPV from casual conduct and that was not my intent with the comparison. i do believe that sex is occurring at epidemic proportions.

i also despise regulation and i mentioned that i didn't think the governor's decision would stick. my point in writing this was to show that at least the bad press is shining a massive light on the availability of this new vaccine. in my mind, it's good, no matter what the outcome.

Posted by: shoe at February 26, 2007 06:27 AM

If the vaccine works, it might be just the beginning of finding ways to prevent a lot of other cancers.

If I had a daughter, the only thing that would stop me from getting it for her would be some hard looks at the protocols for approval by the FDA. If it looked like it had been vetted well and completely...then I would go for it.

What I cannot abide are the people that say "My daughter's not sexually active, why should I encourage her to be?"

This puts my eyes in danger of rolling out of my head.

Posted by: Nancy at February 26, 2007 01:12 PM

FYI - Sweet has had the first of the three injections...

Posted by: Christina at February 26, 2007 07:08 PM

I think you nailed it. All the way. Excellent post!

Posted by: Kelly at February 28, 2007 07:57 AM

The insinuation of premarital sex does not bother me. I seem to be in the minority on that one. Sex happens. We are human. And sex happens young now. Period.

To mandate this vaccine? No thanks. To me it is bothersome because the vaccine only prevents a small percentage of what causes cervical cancer, not all. They are touting it as much more.. and its not.

But mostly, I am bothered because the FDA does not know the long term issues with this vaccine. It does not. And I find to mandate something that prevents something not contagious like polio, to be frightening when tehy really don't know the long term effects. What if over time they find that it prevents cervical, but has altered the immune system so they are susceptible to some other infection? Or worse... what if they found through some fluke it caused some sort of sterility? Or... some neurological issues?

I'm sure none of it will be so, but the fact is... NOBODY knows and for someone to mandate means that they are mandating our young women to be guinea pigs. That is bothersome.

I've seen first hand what shoddy FDA work will do.

And it is not really mandated in TX, from what I understand. You can get out of it by filling out paperwork. Too bad the news is not talking about that...

Posted by: Bou at February 28, 2007 08:58 PM