"What Will You Do For Autism" Asks Iowa Boy to Each GOP Candidate
By Kim Stagliano
Our good friend Lin Wessels and her son Sam have barnstormed Iowa to meet and greet the GOP candidates. Below, Sam asks them what he or she will do for autism as President. We need to do something like this at every event. Ask tough questions. Demand hard answers. When people see my girls, spend a few moments with them, the disconnect of their age and beauty compared to their ability to speak and interact makes grown men weep. I kid you not. The glossing over of the real hardship of autism, even by the well meaning, has contributed to the lack of alarm Anne Dachel writes about every day. Despite the difficulty, bring your kids to meet the political candidates at every chance. Hold up a sign, holler at the top of your lungs, plunk yourself in front of a TV camera. It gets easier every time. We can make a difference. Let the children lead the way.
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Thank you Lin and Sam.
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel, House of Cards; A Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.
Sorry but I don't believe ANY candidate from either party, unless that candidate has been directly involved with legislation about autism and vaccines PRIOR to becoming a presidential candidate. Can we say Congressman Burton, Weldon, and the Congresswoman from New York (sorry, name escapes me)?
None of these guys get it. Although I think Michele Bachman was brave enough to speak about Gardisil being more dangerous than the media lets on.
When I asked our two local congressmen how universal healthcare would benefit children with autism, they had to stumble and mumble their words. They didn't know. Then they later replied that autism coverage was one of the amendments on the table. To date, I have yet to hear how they intend to cover autism.
It's all dog and pony show. When someone actually stands up and declares that they don't care what anyone else thinks and starts actually doing something for our kids, then I will finally believe that someone in politics finally got it.
Posted by: Mary | January 06, 2012 at 01:01 PM
KC said "I am not afraid of Iran. I am afraid that someone will try, in the name of public health, to force a vaccine on my children. I am afraid that my right to continue chelation, which is proving so effective for my children, will be taken away. I am afraid that leaders who don't understand the origin of our economic problems will cause further collapse making our personal financial situation too dire to afford treatment. These are more likely threats to my family." and I'll second that. Add to that government encroachment on my right to educate my child at home, my right to opt my child out of certain teachings in the public schools and my right to make any kind of medical decision for myself or my family.
I worry more about our Federal government that I do anything else. From a close friend in the health insurance industry "Sebeilus is working hard to gain access to the medical records of privately insured individuals who pay for their own healthcare and do not rely on any government assistance" and I wonder why? From another friend - her employer wants to know each person's Body Mass Index (if they are utilizing the medical insurance that the company offers) so that those with a BMI too high can be "encouraged" to join a support type group at work to learn how to lower BMI. I wonder seriously ponder the wisdom of having our health insurance so intricately intertwined in our employment.
We are at a dire cross road in this country and I fear that too many of our citizens are completely unaware. Encourage everyone to check out the Canary Party and ParentalRights.org.
Posted by: Shelly | January 06, 2012 at 09:12 AM
I like Sam. Let's face it, it's not every day that a politician initiates the back scratching without a sack of money clearing deposit first.
I'd like to comment on the candidates, but like the current member of the Occupy The White House movement, there's little substance in their answers.
Maybe Sam could simply write down the correct answer to his question then give it to each one to read aloud while he holds the microphone.
Isn't that the way it should be? After all, this is our country, right?
Posted by: Media Scholar | January 06, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Newt Gingrich gets it? He gets it alright - he knows that Big Pharma will help him win elections. He was paid by Pharma to help them pass the medicare expansion they desired. This is from his book. Does this make you comfortable?:
"But perhaps no anti-scientific argument is more dangerous today than the claim put forward by radical environmentalists, most notably Robert F. Kennedy Jr., that childhood vaccinations can cause autism. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have disproved this connection. Moreover, the Lancet, a prominent British journal that published a 1998 study confirming a vaccination-autism connection, recently retracted the study, whose findings had already been repudiated by ten of its thirteen co-authors.
Yet some parents, worried by these rumors, have stopped vaccinating their children, endangering public health."
Any scientific studies under his leadership will be pharma approved. In fact, as we are 15 trillion in debt, any promises made by candidates are empty promises. Newt's primary platform right now seems to be war with Iran. I am not afraid of Iran. I am afraid that someone will try, in the name of public health, to force a vaccine on my children. I am afraid that my right to continue chelation, which is proving so effective for my children, will be taken away. I am afraid that leaders who don't understand the origin of our economic problems will cause further collapse making our personal financial situation too dire to afford treatment. These are more likely threats to my family. Ron Paul is the one who gets it - this epidemic would never have happened under a like-minded President. Liability protection for Pharma would have been vetoed as unconstitutional as it should have been. He is our best hope to protect our freedom to not vaccinate if we choose, to treat our children with the medicine that we know works, and to put the financial liability for vaccine damage back where it belongs - on the shoulders of pharmaceutical companies. He has spoken publicly about the dangers of vaccines and their unintended side effects and would not be afraid to do so as President. He does not worry about backlash because he has nothing to lose - no corporate support. These are his words when he voted against the pharmaceutical vaccine liability protection:
“…while I support the efforts of the sponsors of HR 4600 to address the crisis in health care caused by
excessive malpractice litigation and insurance premiums, I cannot support this bill. HR 4600 exceeds
Congress' constitutional limitations and denies full compensation to those harmed by the unintentional
effects of federal vaccine mandates. Instead of furthering unconstitutional authority, my colleagues should
focus on addressing the root causes of the malpractice crisis by supporting efforts to restore the primacy
of contract to the doctor-patient relationships.”
Posted by: KC | January 05, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Don't kid yourselves about Gingrich. He is Big Pharma's boy all the way. Remember the swine flu craze a few years ago? Ron Paul was one of the few public figure who said the whole thing was a scam, more people would die from the vaccine than the flu. I don't agree with Paul about everything, but he is an unequivocal supporter of vaccine choice and medical freedom in general. What will we do if the Fed Govt tries to force vaccines on our already vaccine damaged children? Think Obama, Romney Newt or the rest would lift a finger for us?
Posted by: julie | January 05, 2012 at 08:07 AM
Newt is gE only guy that understands this is a medical problem not an education/funding problem at its heart. Funding g and education are needed but we will never get progress on prevention of future cases without science!!!!!!! As usual, I vote for Newt, he only guy with a brain cell. But I do like Ron Paul's attitude about vaccine freedom, but that is where it ends. He won't spend tax dollars on research, congress will anyway, and he won't know if it's good or bad because it's not his interest. Newt gets it!
Posted by: Autism doc | January 04, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Although Ron Paul's meaning may have been lost in translation, he is definitely the only presidential candidate who will help stop the autism epidemic and stand up for vaccine safety. I'm in his congressional district & I can tell you that he will walk the talk. Here's an email I received from him last year in response to my inquiry regarding vaccine safety:
Thank you for contacting my office. As you may know, I was one of the first members of Congress to request hearings on vaccine safety. I strongly oppose any attempt to use federal government power to undermine your medical privacy or force you to be vaccinated against your will. As an OB-GYN and a strong supporter of limited government, I share your opposition to forcing people to receive possibly dangerous vaccines against their will.
I will also oppose any effort to undermine the ability of the victims of dangerous vaccines to seek redress from pharmaceutical companies. Thank you again for contacting my office. Please feel free to do so in the future with any other questions, comments, or suggestions.
Posted by: BJ | January 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Sam, your bravery and excellent public speaking skills are absolutely wonderful! You did an amazing job! I don't think I could have done so well in a room full of people. Thank you Sam and Lin!
Unfortunately, not a single one of these politicians answered your questions and concerns directly.
Mental health disorders? Study the brain? Proper education? How about prevention people? Rick Santorum made the best effort, but he even fell short. Sam commented that he really liked him too.
I'm not voting any longer. Not a single politician has stood strong against the vaccine industry that is THEE NUMBER ONE CAUSE of our children's escalating cases of autism. No, I have zero faith in our "system" any longer.
I know that other parents and family members who read this can agree. I hope that you see right through the transparency in this system. Join me by abstaining from voting in this election.
DEMAND that vaccination no longer be pushed upon unsuspecting parents and innocent children in medical offices, pharmacies, grocery stores, schools, etc. any longer. REFUSE to accept anything less than 100% complete disclosure. The lives of countless children INSISTS upon our strong stance on this issue. Please, for the love of our children, find the courage and stand strong with me.
The mountains of evidence out of the mouths of the pharmaceutical industry, the CDC and the FDA that vaccines are the direct link support my statements here. If you are on this page, you already know this.
Not a single one of these politicians is going to push back in the name of our children and the future of our country. This is abundantly clear by their blatant disregard time after time. This is further evidenced by their lack of direct response to Sam in these videos.
I refuse to support a system that props up predatory practices any longer. United we stand, divided we fall and so do our children, the unsuspecting victims; just as they have been for at least the past two decades already.
Thank you for reading my post!
Posted by: Parent of the injured taking a stand and saying NO to big Pharma and puppet politicians | January 04, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I want a Sam Wessels pic badge for my FB profile picture!
Posted by: Alison MacNeil | January 04, 2012 at 06:11 PM
The ONLY candidate who has addressed autism is Newt Gingrich. He is addressing brain science in his 21st Century Contract with America, which was developed way before Sam asked his astute question. Newt understands first-hand the effects of autism and Alzheimer's on families and he knows the impact upon family budgets and the economy of our nation. He will be the first President to address autism in a meaningful way. He is actively pursuing it now. And he has an OPEN MIND about the direction the conversation needs to take. How do I know this? He has asked me for my input as an advocate and parent of an adult with autism. Newt is committed to making a difference in the lives of people with autism. When Newt was Speaker of the House, he gave of his time on two occasions to raise upwards of $300,000 for a local autism foundation in my area. He has been supporting autism in a meaningful way for years!
Posted by: Georgia Mom | January 04, 2012 at 06:01 PM
cmo, many states have quietly introduced and PASSED bills allowing the state to use mercury/thimerosal-preserved vaccines in case of shortages. Illinois is one; I think WA and CA are others, and I'm sure that there are many more.
Posted by: Taximom | January 04, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Just one question ... where can I get the sign ...
SAM for PRESIDENT!
Way to go Sam - been following on Facebook!
(Mom for VP!) :)
Have to be 35 for President? how many more years? 10, 12?
Posted by: Diane | January 04, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Great job Sam!!!!
Posted by: Stop big harma | January 04, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Thank you Lin and Sam, what a wonderful job you did! I have been wondering where the candidates stand on our issue as you never hear about it on TV (except we know what happened to poor M. Bachmann for defending a mom). I think Romney gave a hint that he knows the issue when he mentions getting politics out of science/research, bravo for that. Santorum mentioned how lousy the school system is. My family have sure had our nightmares with the special providers at school who could care less for our kids. But I imagine it would be political suicide to go too far with the issue during a campaign. We need, however, to get out there and make them know how big this issue is!!
Posted by: ECDRPH | January 04, 2012 at 01:04 PM
A very well done question and video.
One question might have been...
"The mercury/ Thimerosal vaccines given to me at birth 9 years ago are now illegal in Iowa, Missouri and several other states. Why do the states have to ban this material one at a time?
What do you think is the cause of the Autism epidemic, And do you think 36 liability free vaccines by age 5 are too many too soon ???
On to New Hampshire Sam !!!
Posted by: cmo | January 04, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Here is the link to Congressman Ron Paul's response for those interested. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOkTBXKsD7Y&list=FLlQ5BN76Lm1tQ1JToLqRe0g&index=5&feature=plpp_video
Posted by: Lin | January 04, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I don't understand why when questions aren't answered at these events that people don't just yell out... "hey, you didn't answer the question that little boy had. Give him an answer!" I get so pissed whenever I watch tv and see these things on talk shows, etc. Do you take an oath to be in the audience that you won't demand to have your questions answered. They won't do it, until it is demanded. Or, next time... before Sam asks his questions, perhaps he could say,,, "After I ask my question, are you going to answer it, or change the subject?" Good job, Sam. What a handsome young lad you are.
Posted by: why not | January 04, 2012 at 11:49 AM
P. S. Loved the condensed summary of the response as well! Also spot on!
Posted by: Lin | January 04, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Made me cry, Kim, my friend. Our thanks to you and AoA for being so supportive of our mission, understanding precisely what we aim to do! And you are so right on when you say as many of us as possible need to be doing this so they are not able to continue to skirt the isue, purposely avoid and blatantly ignore us! Go Team Autism!! We've got the numbers, sadly so. Now let's get out there and do it!
Posted by: Lin | January 04, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Sam's question is what do you plan to do about it (skyrocketing developmental disabilities). Sounds like pour more money into research as if its still a mystery. What needs to be asked and answered is, What are you going to do about the corruption of our government agencies by the very industries they are supposed to be policing? If an independent investigation revealed that the CDC and its fellow DHS agencies have been covering up a scandal involving vaccines and developmental delays what will you do to make it right?
Posted by: Adam M | January 04, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Bauchman is not going to go near this issue again. She got her hands and maybe face slapped about her sincere, honest, a very good thoughts on the mother who had her daughter injuried by Gadasil. She has learned her lesson and stepped back into line.
Santorum has a child with a learning disability, does anyone know anything about this child?
None of the candidates are going to go near this issue. It is the same thing that has gone on for years, and it looks like it is going to continue to go on.
However; the numbers of kids with autism has grown to the point that we have a very handsome, red headed boy in the autism ranks to stand up and ask the question (that the candidates, or the entire government will not address).
A better question we should be asking ourselves is what number will finally be too high to pay to be disease free???
We the people as a whole want our vaccines, we are scared of disease, we are not worried about Pharma being joined at the hip with the governmnet, we are willing to give up the minds and health of some kids (other people's kids) because we as a whole still think that autism is a small price to pay to not have "measles" ????
Posted by: Benedetta | January 04, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I love it vvv...how distanced are these people from any real world issues!!..I think Sam did a wonderful job, especially with that "woman" petting all over him, we all know how much our children love being "petted".
Posted by: barbaraj | January 04, 2012 at 11:13 AM
How wonderful! What a great reminder that we all have an obligation to ask the tough questions and stick our necks out. Thanks Sam for motivating us!!!
Posted by: Casey O | January 04, 2012 at 10:26 AM
I'd like to give my sincere thanks to Lin and Sam for again making autism a campaign issue. Sam, I am impressed!
Posted by: vvv | January 04, 2012 at 10:22 AM
All responses come up short. Here's the Reader's Digest version:
Gingrich: I gave a recent lecture about Brain Science, and someday we'll have the answers to people with dementia and mental illness through Science!
Bachman: What a nice boy. Now let's talk about the deficit. Did you know that the US is spending 40% more than we are taking in?
Romney: Let's talk about the deficit. We are going to have to make hard choices about the deficit- I like Sesame Street too, but we're going to have to consider what's more important.
Santorum: (long-winded award) Let's talk about getting government out of the education business. Teachers don't like No Child Left Behind, and I don't either, even though I voted for it.
Posted by: vvv | January 04, 2012 at 10:20 AM