Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I wasn’t physically present at the Mercury Generation Rally in Washington last week, but a friend sent photographs from the event to let me know what I missed.

The estimates I’ve seen for the number of participants ranged from a couple of hundred to a thousand. I’m not too concerned over the numbers. It is enough to know that for every person there at the capitol, there were many, many others who could not be there for one reason or another. There are a lot of us out here, and we’re not going away any time soon.

We’re speaking through a lot of different groups and a lot of different media (including blogs). To be sure, we don’t speak for all autistics or parents of all autistic children. Some feel we’re creating a diversion from what they see as the real issues of autism. Some feel we’re advocating a waste of national resources. Some feel that by talking in terms of “cure,” we create an image of autistics as being unworthy of respect or love. I don’t believe that’s the intent or the result, but obviously some feel that to be the case. Those who disagree with us are entitled to their opinions and feelings, and I will not fault them for airing their opinions and feelings in any appropriate way they see fit. But know this; there are a lot of us out here, and we’re not going away any time soon.

That is not to say that we ⎯ that is, those of us who either marched in Washington or wished we had ⎯ all have the exact same opinions and goals. We certainly don’t agree on the efficacy of any one intervention, although most of our favorite interventions fall under the umbrella of biomedical protocols. Some of us think mercury is the only problem. Some of us think mercury is a large component of a complex problem. Some of us want to preserve legal rights. Some of us care less about who can sue whom, and just want someone to tell us the truth. As for me, I think the question of how we, as a society, should apportion the cost of our mistakes can wait. The important first step is to find a definitive answer. As we look for that answer, keep in mind that there are a lot of us out here, and we’re not going away any time soon.

What if that answer shows we’re wrong? Then we look for new solutions in the answer that emerges. I don’t think, however, that we’re wrong. Everything I’ve seen in the last couple of years tells me we’re on the right track. I recall visiting relatives living in tobacco country as a boy. I can still hear my father’s cousin, who operated a wholesale business for tobacco products, railing about those litigation-seeking agitators who were trying to draw a connection between cigarettes and cancer. He could cite lots of impressive studies that “disproved” the connection, but we came to find out those studies were dictated more by interests than science. In the autism controversies, both sides claim that it’s the other guys using “tobacco science.” It says a lot to me that only one side says the debate is over. That side needs to be reminded that there are a lot of us out here, and we’re not going away any time soon.

I didn’t think it could happen, but the rhetoric is getting harsher than ever these days. People on both sides ⎯ better to say all sides ⎯ of the debate are getting frustrated. And there are certainly vocal persons on both sides who seem to delight in provoking controversy. I may wince when some things are said, but I can only control what I say. As a whole, we are people of good will. Nevertheless, we cannot and will not forget what has happened to our children. Yes, there are a lot of us out here, and we’re not going away any time soon.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be move.
Just like a tree that’s standing by the water,
We shall not be moved.

We shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
We’re fighting for our children,
We shall not be moved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wade, thanks for sharing the photos. Time and money would not permit us to be there. I hope to find out more about the rally in coming days. Have any of the news outlets reported anything? I haven't heard a thing. Thanks again.

4/12/06, 12:33 PM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

Hi Linda,

The only media report I'm aware of (at least on-line) is a story by a Virginia television station. Due in no small part to its proximity to D.C., there were apparently a lot of Virginians in attendance, which would make it a matter of interest for their local station.

4/12/06, 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We shall not be moved"

- Unless of course, Senator Kennedy's people come out and tell us to move, in which case we will move but only a few short feet away :) This did happen but I hear it worked out pretty well. After the mercury rally... many of the participants went and held up their signs (quietly and peacefully) during Kennedy's speech on the minimum wage. Apparently, there were just as many mercury parents at Kennedy's speech than people there for the minimum wage gathering.

4/12/06, 3:01 PM  
Blogger kristina said...

We went (with Charlie) to the "Unlocking Autism" rally in 2000. Just to be standing together with so many other kids and families was not to be forgotten.

I often wonder what happened to all those families we stood with and hope to hear of their stories someday.

4/12/06, 9:15 PM  
Blogger Alana said...

I often think that if we dig deep enough we will find that autism holds the key to so many of societies current symptoms to what lies beneath: Discrimination, environmental neglect, Big Pharma, our tendency to overperscribe and over consume.
There seem to be many missions that are all a part of understanding autism and each of us is a key to helping understand the truth. I am grateful for those working on the mission to uncover the effects of mercury. I think it is important to discover the truth.

4/13/06, 8:54 PM  
Blogger The Furman Files said...

Hi Wade,

I've written a new version to 'We Shall Not Be Moved' that talks about nuclear power, coal, wind, and solar.

It's on my web site, XB Cold Fingers, along with Sunbathing in Siberia, and a few other songs.

Larry Furman

3/18/08, 8:56 AM  

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