Potions, Elixirs, and Anti-Vaccine Politics
I am writing a mystery taking place in 1888 San Diego. Back then, it was not much different than today. People were coming to San Diego because they had “consumption,” which is another word for tuberculosis. There were thousands of remedies, gadgets, and other dietary methods being sold to treat these folks. None, of course, helped.
Also, two of my main characters, Drs. Fred and Charlotte Baker, are based on actual physicians who were practicing at the time in San Diego. They were combating all the fraudulent medical devices and medicines being legally sold through the many newspapers, and on street corners at the time. It was a really big problem, and it serves as the main thematic focus of my actual mystery.
Flash-forward (?) to 2021, and we have the same thing going on in the USA, despite 133 years of science, testing and progress in vaccine research and development. Students in schools of the USA are not learning basic science or math, and we are falling behind the world in the understanding of what actually is effective to combat disease. Instead, we cling to the past, hoping and (especially) praying that these screwy potions, magical elixirs, and alternatives will save us. The distrust of science and politicians has mixed into a potentially lethal brew.
I am writing fiction, and some terrible things happen in my plot based on ignorance. I am using that same ignorance we have today, sadly, that we had in 1888. In all my research for the plots, whether it be our racist attitudes or our greedy outlook, which circumvent anything that requires social awareness and actual science, are still continuing to hold us back. Science may change, and it must, but should people remain ignorant? I hope not.