Saturday, June 04, 2011


This year’s Autism One/Generation Rescue Conference was filled with the usual opportunities for education and fellowship, and the annual attempt by a certain someone to show up for the sole purpose of being asked to leave (he wasn’t disappointed). And as often happens, the conference provided the stage for a special announcement.

On Friday, May 27th, the Age of Autism trio (Mark Blaxill, Dan Olmsted, and Kim Stagliano), along with my pal, Ginger Taylor, invited all to join with them in the Canary Party. Judging by the reaction within the packed room, it is an idea whose time has come.

Although it will have some of the trappings, this is not a party in the traditional sense of the world. It is, rather, a political movement. It’s a movement to use political means to bring honesty to the scientific endeavors of our nation’s public health sector. It’s a movement to use political means to bring fairness to the legal system. It’s a movement to steer our nation’s political leaders toward asking tough questions. It’s a movement that embraces all sides of the political spectrum: left, right, liberal conservative, and all other descriptions that have lost all of their traditional meanings in the mess of partisan politics.

Some, who are nonetheless enthusiastic about the mission, expressed some concern over the name of the party. The name, of course, comes from the old use of canaries in coal mines to warn miners of dangerous toxins. What I heard from some was “aren’t the canaries the ones who die?” Yes they are. And they do. Too many of our kids’ lives are cut short.

The fact is that the children of the autism epidemic are the canaries in the coal mine. They are the outward and visible sign of a much broader public health crisis; this is not just about autism spectrum disorders. Anyone who has worked in health care for 20 years or more—at least any that are willing to honestly answer—will tell you that the growth of all autoimmune problems in younger populations is alarming.

And the causes for this public health crisis include, but are by no means limited to a vaccine program that has run amok. Those causes include pollutants in the air, water, and soil. They include the adulteration of our food supply. They include the indiscriminate use of pharmaceutical products. And all of those toxic insults have occurred with the cooperation of various federal regulatory agencies that were charged with protecting the public.

Political pressure must be brought to bear on a regulatory system that has become nothing more than a career path for bureaucrats who want subsequent jobs in the various industries we pay them to protect us from.

Reaction from the “other side” has been predictable. One self-styled “skeptic,” a medical blogger with no child to worry about, dismissed us by commenting that the color adopted by the party reminds him more of a certain bodily fluid than it does canaries. Wow, that was profound. To him, and to those of like mind who would rather treat us with scorn and derision rather than debate us with intelligence, we have a message: bring it on.

This is the right movement the right time. Concern for the future health of our population is steadily increasing, and our numbers will increase with that concern. The only ones that can stop us are ourselves. We have a history in our community of letting internal politics tear us apart. That cannot happen with this endeavor. That’s why it was so important that this announcement came at a conference with a history of bringing together a wide range of groups who can coexist.

If we’re going to make this thing work, we need to check our egos at the door. We have to worry less about who is speaking and acting within our ranks, and worry more about who is doing what to the most vulnerable people. We must keep our eyes on the prize. There can be only one agenda: our children.

Our children have been endangered canaries for too long. It’s time to clean up the mines, and let them fly. Join us.

The only thing I did was wrong
Stayin' in the wilderness too long
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

The only thing we did was right
Was the day we started to fight
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on


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6/4/11, 10:19 PM  
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