Dear AutismOne Community -
I would like to take a moment and address the Travolta brouhaha caused by the Waters' recent blogs and several other issues as well.
ABC News picked up the blog and used it to further their own financial interests and sow dissension in our community. Their intent was to draw on the Travolta’s star power to drive ratings - nevermind if the entire report was something only the tabloids would have published 10 years ago. Today, truth, virtue, and serving the greater common good are relics of a bygone era.
Our founding fathers meant to protect the institution of a free press by explicit guarantees in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”.
What our forefathers could not have imagined was the complete and utter abandonment of the principles that gave rise to the need for a free press by the very caretakers entrusted to safeguard its vitality. The airwaves belong to the American People, but ABC, with the approval of the FCC, has put those noble principles on the bidding block in favor of corporate interests for the past two decades.
There are enough sins committed daily at ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox to last a lifetime. The number one pediatric health crisis in the world today and ABC focuses not on possible causes and the best possible treatments, but on the Travolta’s? Don’t forget these are the same people who watched the meltdown of the banking system never once informing the American people of possible problems ahead.
When this fight is won in a decade or more one of the first priorities will be to rein in the abuses and conflicts of interest rampant in the “designer-press” and “media-for-hire” that currently enjoys all the benefits and shares in none of the sacrifices of honest reporting.
To those of you who don’t know the Waters, who blogged about the Travoltas let me give you some background (and the Waters themselves have been very public in this regard so I am not telling tales out of school).
The Waters have been tireless fighters in getting the word out about autism, not just in awareness which is a dog-chasing-its-own-tail mission, but in letting folks know about the damage caused by vaccines and the hope of recovery. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of parents fighting to save their daughter, their marriage, themselves, and against the system all at the same time. Their daughter, Candy, is in the disturbing vernacular of the times, “low-functioning.”
Not all of us are privy to the world of the low-functioning son or daughter (nor would I want you to be). I have two sons. One would be considered low-functioning. Ian is non-verbal, prone to meltdowns, suffers seizures and gathers stares wherever we go.
Due to Ian’s behaviors I have been arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of kidnapping and threatened and yelled at by other parents.
One of my greatest fears is I will do done in by some “Joe Vigilante” or over-enthusiastic cop who wrongly takes exception to the lengths I must go sometimes to get Ian safely in the car.
The constant us vs. them mentality is wearing. Never has another parent stepped forward when Ian is suffering a meltdown and offered to help. They point. They nod. They call the police.
One of the reasons they don’t help is ABC has not properly informed the public of autism behaviors. Instead they run Autism Speaks public service announcements portraying autism as quirky and cute.
Autism is not quirky and cute – it is matter of life and death for many families.
I do not condone the Waters calling for the Travoltas to task for failing to speak out. The Travolta family needs time to grieve and make peace with their loss. As a community all of us hurt when a child passes. We pray for the family and the ordeal they are going through.
But please understand the Waters are daily facing the trials and tribulations unprotected by the wealth and privilege afforded celebrity.
The Travoltas are not the “Knights in Shining Armor” sent to save us. They are actors who choose privacy over advocacy and we must respect that.
The power to change everything is ours and I will gladly take a few determined moms over the accepted bully-pulpits of mainstream media.