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Author Topic: Any parents in here changed sides during the pandemic??  (Read 73 times)

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Offline theking

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Any parents in here changed sides during the pandemic??
« on: August 03, 2022, 10:47:28 AM »
How Some Parents Changed Their Politics in the Pandemic
They were once Democrats and Republicans. But fears for their children in the pandemic transformed their thinking, turning them into single-issue voters for November’s midterms.


ORINDA, Calif. — They waved signs that read “Defeat the mandates” and “No vaccines.” They chanted “Protect our kids” and “Our kids, our choice.”

Almost everyone in the crowd of more than three dozen was a parent. And as they protested on a recent Friday in the Bay Area suburb of Orinda, Calif., they had the same refrain: They were there for their children.

Most had never been to a political rally before. But after seeing their children isolated and despondent early in the coronavirus pandemic, they despaired, they said. On Facebook, they found other worried parents who sympathized with them. They shared notes and online articles — many of them misleading — about the reopening of schools and the efficacy of vaccines and masks. Soon, those issues crowded out other concerns.

“I wish I’d woken up to this cause sooner,” said one protester, Lisa Longnecker, 54, who has a 17-year-old son. “But I can’t think of a single more important issue. It’s going to decide how I vote.”

Ms. Longnecker and her fellow objectors are part of a potentially destabilizing new movement: parents who joined the anti-vaccine and anti-mask cause during the pandemic, narrowing their political beliefs to a single-minded obsession over those issues. Their thinking hardened even as Covid-19 restrictions and mandates were eased and lifted, cementing in some cases into a skepticism of all vaccines.

Nearly half of Americans oppose masking and a similar share is against vaccine mandates for schoolchildren, polls show. But what is obscured in those numbers is the intensity with which some parents have embraced these views. While they once described themselves as Republicans or Democrats, they now identify as independents who plan to vote based solely on vaccine policies.

Their transformation injects an unpredictable element into November’s midterm elections. Fueled by a sense of righteousness after Covid vaccine and mask mandates ended, many of these parents have become increasingly dogmatic, convinced that unless they act, new mandates will be passed after the midterms.

To back up their beliefs, some have organized rallies and disrupted local school board meetings. Others are raising money for anti-mask and anti-vaccine candidates like J.D. Vance, the Republican nominee for Senate in Ohio; Reinette Senum, an independent running for governor in California; and Rob Astorino, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York.

In interviews, 27 parents who called themselves anti-vaccine and anti-mask voters described strikingly similar paths to their new views. They said they had experienced alarm about their children during pandemic quarantines. They pushed to reopen schools and craved normalcy. They became angry, blaming lawmakers for the disruption to their children’s lives.

Many congregated in Facebook groups that initially focused on advocating in-person schooling. Those groups soon latched onto other issues, such as anti-mask and anti-vaccine messaging. While some parents left the online groups when schools reopened, others took more extreme positions over time, burrowing into private anti-vaccine channels on messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.

Eventually, some began questioning vaccines for measles and other diseases, where inoculations have long been proven effective. Activists who oppose all vaccines further enticed them by joining online parent groups and posting inaccurate medical studies and falsehoods.

“So many people, but especially young parents, have come to this cause in the last year,” said Janine Pera, 65, a longtime activist against all vaccines who attended the Orinda protest. “It’s been a huge gift to the movement.”

The extent of activity is evident on Facebook. Since 2020, more than 200 Facebook groups aimed at reopening schools or opposing closings have been created in states including Texas, Florida and Ohio, with more than 300,000 members, according to a review by The New York Times. Another 100 anti-mask Facebook groups dedicated to ending masking in schools have also sprung up in states including New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, some with tens of thousands of members.



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Offline Visualmon

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Re: Any parents in here changed sides during the pandemic??
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2022, 04:35:47 PM »
That'll be swell. I wonder what do they call themselves if they don't take sides.



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