And that brings me to the “Green Vaccines” initiative which simply seeks to do the same job the medical community should have been doing all these years. We’re at the beginning of this process, but these are the ideas we want the political consultants to “poll-test” to determine support. They told me specifically to go broad to see how people react to the various ideas.
The time to winnow out ideas will come later. Without recounting all the ideas at length, there were five general areas.1. Research/Testing – Oregon requests the federal government to return the records of the Vaccine Safety Data-Link from private industry and make them available to independent researchers, conduct a study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, study the health effects of aluminum adjuvants, and other substances used in vaccines like hydrolyzed gelatin and sorbitol.
3. Banning – Thimerosal ban across the board, as well as the flu shot for pregnant women, multiple vaccinations at a single visit, a six month ban on vaccines for premature births, and three months for any infant.4. Changes to Existing Law – Adding a philosophical exemption for Oregon, reducing required vaccines, restriction of the Vaccine Act of 1986 to unavoidably unsafe components of vaccines, and additional rights of military personnel to choose alternative vaccination schedules.
5. Consumer/Parental Choice – Giving parents the freedom to choose aluminum and formaldehyde free vaccines, a different vaccination schedule, a titer check before vaccination, as well as one for mitochondrial disorders which might be exacerbated by a vaccine, and the right to have multiple vaccines such as MMR split up into individual doses.
I know this is a tall order. I've been told by a few long-time autism advocates that our community lacks the unity necessary to prevail in this effort. We will squabble too much among ourselves. The material support we need will never materialize.
We will complain, we will bitch, but when an opportunity presents itself we will fail.
In the months leading up to this announcement I've spent a lot of time thinking about the necessary ingredients for a successful rebellion. Reading books on our own American Revolution has given me some guidance on this question.
First of all, while Congress was happy to declare independence and authorize an army, it just couldn't seem to find the money to pay for one. Besides being a great military leader, George Washington was also one of the richest men in the country. In addition to leading the army he paid for most of it. After we prevailed the Congress never paid him back, even though he served two terms as President. Fortunately, he was a shrewd businessman so despite all his losses he still died as the wealthiest of all the Founding Fathers.
Second, the only place we could reasonably expect to get the money we needed was France. Benjamin Franklin led the delegation, but the other members of the delegation despised him so much they tried to get him recalled. The money eventually came, and with French troops, and the French navy we were finally able to defeat the British. Of course, after we won we didn't like to acknowledge how much the French really helped us. That fact got airbrushed out of the official history. And the French spent so much money supporting us it led to their own revolution a few years later with King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette getting the guillotine for their troubles. (Although we did later help them in two World Wars, a fact which they often seem to conveniently forget as well!)
Finally, at the very height of the war it was estimated that only about a third actively supported independence, a third supported the British, and the rest were indifferent. That was the truth of our glorious revolution.
And so it is with these facts in mind I contemplate our own rebellion. Do I expect there will be people who clamor for things to be done, yet not lend a hand? I do. Do I expect there will be back-biting and petty feuds which should never be indulged when given the seriousness of this effort? I do. And at the very height of conflict do I expect the majority of parents of children with autism to be indifferent to this battle? I do.
And yet in spite of these obstacles I'm convinced we can prevail.
I believe there are those among you reading this article who will rise to the occasion. I have heard it in your comments. From the mother who suggested so many organizations who might lend a hand. From the lawyer who volunteered to take this idea to a group of high net-worth potential donors. In the comments from those who suggested ideas I'd overlooked. From the grandmother who told me that even though she was in dire financial straits helping her daughter with an autistic child she would give $10 a month to this effort. From the parent who told me she'd pass this along to all of her Facebook friends, or the mother who told me that in lieu of Christmas presents she was asking her family and friends to donate to this cause.
I know I won't win over all of you. I may not even get a majority. But I will get enough of you. It's said that fortune favors the bold. This idea is bold. And it can win. The world is ours to change. I respectfully ask for your support.
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Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor of Age of Autism
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