The National Autism Association (NAA) is calling it a “Landmark Lieberman Letter” with a headline that reads “Congress Speaks Out on Thimerosal.” I know they’re trying to put a positive spin on every small gain but at some point they need a little perspective. What were they talking about? Senator Joseph Lieberman and seven other Congresspersons sent a letter to David A. Schwartz, MD, the new director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences “urging” (you know, asking) him to look into the thimerosal/autism link. How bold, a letter. Now that’s decisive leadership. Yawn.
They also lauded the Senator for language inserted into a Labor/HHS appropriations bill “recommending a committee be formed to evaluate the need for independent research of the Vaccine Safety Datalink, which has never been fully accessed by anyone outside the CDC.” Now I’m sure that’s a necessary step, but I have a hard time getting worked up over them “recommending a committee be formed.” Ooo, a committee. That’s telling ‘em. And actually, it’s just a recommendation to form a committee, which just as easily can — and probably will — be ignored. I realize that it will be years, if not decades, before the truth comes out, whatever it is, and I think that’s what pisses me off the most. We won’t find out anything meaningful until all the people involved at the CDC and other agencies have either retired or passed away lest they have to face the responsibility of poisoning an entire generation of children. If they did nothing wrong, why not open it up to scrutiny so the world can see they’ve done no harm? I think we all know the answer to that question, especially them, and it’s their lack of willingness to come clean that makes them evil, in my opinion. I don’t believe — or at least I don’t want to believe — that the government’s medical doctors and scientists intentionally caused the autism epidemic, but their continued unwillingness to admit any mistake and honestly face not only the cause, but also what to do next, makes their earlier mistakes, however inadvertent, more and more malevolent. Instead of protecting the public they’ve spent their efforts protecting themselves and are losing what’s left of their souls in the process.
From the NAA press release:
A letter made public this week from eight members of the House and Senate to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is making headlines, and with good reason. After years of hard work from parents across the country to focus Congressional attention on the thimerosal/autism link, this may finally become a reality.
The offices of Senator Joseph Lieberman and several other lawmakers managed to pass important language as part of a Labor/HHS appropriations bill recommending a committee be formed to evaluate the need for independent research of the Vaccine Safety Datalink, which has never been fully accessed by anyone outside the CDC. A growing number of parents are convinced that the CDC will never be able to appropriately research the VSD because of the agency’s conflicts of interest and possible culpability in allowing an entire generation of children to be overexposed to mercury through vaccines.
The letter, addressed to NIEHS director, Dr. David Schwartz, is forceful in urging that the NIEHS direct its efforts towards finding answers for the one in 166 children now diagnosed with autism. This is encouraging news for us all, and a testament to the fact that Congress is listening to us. We will all need to be keeping watch on this situation to see that it receives and maintains the attention it deserves. The full letter is available here: http://www.a-champ.org/Congressionalletter2-22-06.html
I’m starting to think the NAA, and perhaps many of the autism advocacy groups, have been around long enough that they’re becoming part of the establishment they originally sought to hold accountable. One of the things I took away from reading David Kirby’s Evidence of Harm was what grassroots, rebel, in-your-face the original advocacy groups made up of pissed-off parents of autistic kids demanding answers really were. But it’s hard for anyone to sustain that level of rebellion for very long. That’s why dissidence rarely succeeds, it doesn’t have the resources and wherewithal that the rich and powerful enjoy. That’s why most movements for social or political change usually just peter out as their members age and give up. And I’m beginning to believe that’s what is happening here. I’m sure any of the advocacy bigwigs who read this would be aghast, or worse, at my questioning their commitment, especially the ones who were in this fight from beginning. But it’s not their commitment to the fight, it’s what has happened to the fight itself that I see as the problem. This is, obviously, just one observer’s point of view, and one who is no doubt somewhat myopic since we came to the fight so late. But what I now see is slick websites, polished press releases with their own spin, for chrissakes, taking official positions on issues, essentially playing the same political game that the government is and in some cases even using underhanded propaganda for sympathy, support and money. It’s obvious nobody can agree on what to do or the best approach to do it since there are so many organizations. This, of course, works against a real solution since it dilutes what small resources there are, both in terms of people and money. I’m not saying anybody sold out, but I am skeptical whenever an organization for change begins behaving like the bureaucracy it’s trying to change.