tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 4, 2014 7:00am-9:01am EDT
>> up next from booktv, "after words" with guest host chuck todd of nbc news. this week dr. ben carson and his latest book "one nation: what we can all do to save america's future." in it the prominent former neurosurgeon and presidential critic proposes a road out what he calls u.s. decline. he convinces solutions appeal to every american's decency and common sense. this program is about one hour. >> host: dr. carson, welcome. i think the best way to start before we delve into your book is to delve into you. so tell me, you have a very inspirational book, how you grew up. tell me where you grew up. >> guest: i grew up in detroit. a couple years in boston also.
my mother came from a large rural family, got married when she was 13. >> host: from where? >> guest: rural tennessee. she and my father moved to detroit. it was a factory worker. sumners later she discovered he was bigamist. she had the responsibility of the poll with only a third grade education of trying to raise us. >> host: how many of you were there country me and my brother. i was the dummy. that's what everybody called me. >> host: a nurse or jeanette and you were the dummy. that's what i've been wanting to get too. how did you get from being the dummy to neurosurgeon transferred my mother, any success i've had, i've to contribute to god and my mother. she's always seeking wisdom and came up with the idea of opening your eyes and looking around you. she noticed the homes she
claimed people didn't watch a lot of tv, no offense. and they read a lot of books. she looked at where we lived, look at where they live and so it clicked in her mind, if i can get my voice to stop look at tv all along and start reading. she opposed back on us. >> host: did you have a favorite tv show? >> guest: i loved anything. eugenie the tv guide when i was around that i could tell you what was on every station. she basically restricted us to two or three tv programs per week. with all that spare time she said we had to read two books a week from detroit public library and submit a written report she couldn't read but we didn't know that. >> host: when did you find out your mother couldn't read? >> guest: later on in high school. in fact, she got her ged the same year i graduated from high school. >> host: no kidding?
>> guest: yeah. but anyway, by making us read, which i hated, something happened. i used to admire this markets in the classroom. i was always saying how can they know all the answers? their the same age i am. but as i started reading all of the sudden the cage would ask a question and i knew the answer. it got me excited and i got to the point wear it like five minutes i was reading a book. i went from being the dummy the top of the class in a year and a half. >> host: give me the first book that you'd really read. >> guest: chip the dam builder. >> host: my dad made me read her files encourage. what was it for you? >> guest: chip the dam builder. it was about a deeper, a cool beaver i've got to say. i went on from there and read every animal book in the detroit public library and then i started reading about plants and rocks because we lived near the railroad tracks and there were all these rocks.
i could get boxes of rocks. pretty soon i could identify in iraq. >> host: suddenly you're a scientist and you didn't realize it. now i'm starting to make the connection. that ma maybe sparked her intert in science? >> guest: one day science detailed of a big shiny rock and sentencing would note this is? nobody raised a hand so i raised my hand. everybody turned around, couldn't believe. he said this would be how various. >> host: were you known as a joke to? >> guest: they knew i couldn't possibly know the answer so it would be something really dumb. i said what was and they did know whether they should a laughing or whether they should be impressed. finally, the teacher said that's right. and i explained how it was formed and they were just shocked but i was more shocked than anybody because it dawned on me at that moment i wasn't stupid. the teacher invited me -- >> host: what grade transferred fifth grade. the teacher invited me to come to the lab, that me involved in
taking care of the little animals. i started looking through the microscope discovering the whole world of protozoa. >> host: do you remove the teacher's name? >> guest: mr. jake. >> host: how long ago? >> guest: that was more than 50 years ago. the interesting thing is i went back to that school, and this was several years ago with good morning america, and they wanted to sort of trace my roots. mr. jake was still there. balding and potbellied now. >> host: aren't we all at some point? >> guest: i wanted him to show them the animals because he had a red squirrel, tarantula, jack dempsey fish, all these things. he said oh, we had to get rid of those things a long time ago. >> host: did you have a relationship with your father? >> guest: not a strong relationship.
we would see him periodically. the last time i saw him was the day i got married 39 years ago. >> host: did this second family he had, do you have a relationship with those half-brothers and half-sisters transferred no. >> host: did you ever forgive him? >> guest: absolute. i cannot look at the big picture. my mother tried to make up for all that. and my father, he was appalled with drugs, alcohol, women. nothing wrong with women but you can have more than one. that's the problem. that probably not in the best influence for me. in retrospect even though i was devastated as a kid, i was always print let him come back, let him come back. now i realize perhaps that that would've been the best thing for me. >> host: detroit today, what would you be doing? >> guest: first of all the same thing i'll be doing almost any place, bring back some fiscal responsibility, fiscal common sense.
a lot of people blame the unions for what happened to detroit. i actually don't blame the unions. unions do what you need to do and they would gladly strangle the goose that laid the golden egg. gave me a. that's all they want. >> host: they represent their members and their members want a better deal gas tax right but the executives and the big three auto companies, they have a 15 year plan. they understand all this and they knew if they kept competing with the unions that eventually they would be a problem. naked doing it anyway because they knew they would have the parachute and be long gone. >> host: and it would be somebody else is problem. so you blame as much of executives as much ado -- >> guest: the much ado -- >> guest: assenting icy run the country. like to be somebody else's problem. >> host: you have gotten a spark of enthusiasm among conservatives. have you been surprised it's
come from conservative? did you assume you were a conservative when you did is? i get the impression you were not always a conservative. >> guest: no. obviously, like most young people growing up in a place like detroit, when i went off to college i was a radical. >> host: where did you go to school? >> guest: yield -- yale. there was a black panther rally. you know, kingman brewster was evil and all this kind of stuff. but it was just the way it was at that time during our history. radicalism was very much accepted among young people at that point. i considered myself really more of a logical person that i am a conservative or a liberal or anything. i'm not all that fond of labels.
i say most of our problems are easily solvable if we could just throw away the labels. i indicated in the book i would love a situation where party designation was not on the ballot. where you actually had another person was. >> host: in a lot of cities, the mayor's races that's the case. it's not surprising to me is who's getting stuff done it these days. mayors. they don't have the baggage that comes with a political party right now. it's an interesting point. so you go to yell back and when did you decide i'm going to be a doctor? >> guest: i actually decided that when i was eight years old. i used to love mission stories in church. it seemed like the most noble people on the face of the earth. great personal sacrifice, bringing mental, physical and spiritual healing to people. i said that's what i'm going to do. but when i turned 13 having
grown up in dire poverty i decided i would rather be rich. at that point i wanted to be a psychiatrist. >> host: you decided a psychiatrist was a better way to make money than a doctor? >> guest: on television, they lived in these mentions in the plush offices the. >> host: who was a psychiatrist that you're referring to. >> guest: most of the keep your programs where you saw a psychiatrist -- >> host: they were doing it. >> guest: i started reading psychology today. everybody would ring me their problems. i would sit down and. >> host: give me a nickel. >> guest: and i made it in psychology in college. i had luminaire professors. it was really pretty exciting. but what i got to medical school i said, you know, everybody has special gifts and talents. i started to think about my life and i really cited tremendous amount of eye candy coordination. >> host: for a surgeon that's a key. >> guest: the ability to think
in three dimensions which essential for a neurosurgeon because you are dealing with a nebulous mass. >> host: especially in pediatric nurse or two which is even smaller. >> guest: you to keep in mind where all the trucks or even though you can't see them. if you don't have three good financial skills -- >> host: how did you know you had that skill? >> guest: from some the jobs that i had done and really perform extremely well. working in a steel factory. >> host: what did you do in the steel factory? >> guest: crane operator right after i finish college. you are driving these enormous beams of steel through narrow areas and dropping them in the bed of a truck. and that they would let me do that after one day of practice. >> host: >> host: a little scary. >> guest: i said, these guys see something in me that they don't see very often. >> host: well, he's the next guy up. >> guest: no, no.
i was a summer job and a lot of the guys who work to their permanent we didn't get to do that. but as a thought about ice age would be a tremendous neurosurgeon. a lot of people thought that was strange because at that time there have been eight black surgeons in history of the world. but to me i didn't think about that. i said this is what my talents are. this is one going to go. >> host: i hear in surgery basically in some ways the rotations, the one location where people can identify the best surgeons are sometimes the plastic surgery rotation in some ways because you've got to know their precise and artistic at the same time. that it's more, now we live in some ways. but there is some truth to that? >> guest: i think there probably is. a lot of money career was developed around craniofacial surgery with a plastic surgeons, which is why i have an appointment in plastic surgery. >> host: you're not practicing right now, do you miss at?
>> guest: i miss the way it used to be. there were a lot of things in the process of changing. most people when they choose medicine, they chose it because you had a great deal of autonomy. you could sort of figure out, wow on going to solve this problem. in the days, the early days it would be like a kid from bolivia or something that had this incredible problem and didn't have resources. i would just say, override it. >> host: figure it out because you wanted to solve the problem. >> guest: and nobody said boo because hospitals have a big enough war chest that it was okay. once the insurance companies got to the point where they could dictate how much they're going to pay and hospitals obama had a margin, then you want to do what, ma for free? are you kidding me?
it's changing so much and so much bureaucracy and stuff. so one of my goals in life is to try to make medicine clinic in. i want doctors to get up in the morning and be excited about going to work. >> host: should doctors be getting rich? >> guest: i think doctors should be well compensated. ridge is a very different thing. i know a lot of rich people. doctors are not rich. >> host: who should be paid more in our society, teachers or doctors? >> guest: i would say it's an irrelevant question. i think people should be paid for what they do. recognize that doctors spent a very long time in training to be doctors. they go to college, they go to medical school for four years, internship, residency. >> host: so you arguably say 12 years of simply postgraduate
work to be a practicing neurosurgeon. >> guest: it takes a long time. there's a lot of sacrifice involved. even once you do start working your working extraordinary hours, and then you've got the tort issue. with neurosurgeon to its declared that because nobody thinks everything is so superb and again with very high risk real estate. that was one of the reasons that i had a real problem with the so-called health reform that does include tort reform. they can't even be serious. >> host: rhetorically the president would talk about it when push came to shove. let me ask you, your christianity is throughout the book. science and faith sometimes collide. you are this highly scientific mind, and you are very deeply religious person. some people would say hey, that
doesn't compute. how doesn't compute with you? >> guest: principle i would say i'm not deeply religious but i have a very strong relationship with god. there is a difference. >> host: what would be the difference? >> guest: the difference is religion tends to be more form, and faith tends to be more substance. and in the name of religion, a lot of really silly stuff has been carried out. >> host: the middle east right now at any point in time. >> guest: exactly. however, people every deep relationship with god i think have a tendency to see religion in a different way. i actually believe that science and faith can be really quite compatible. i've had some interesting discussions with nobel laureates who say, you know, how can a
person of your intelligence believe that, you know, not created heaven, earth and all this stuff? i say, well, how can a person of your intelligence believe that something came from nothing. explain to me exactly how it works. well, we don't understand everything. okay, so i'll give you that there's something. just, there's something. and now you're going to tell me it explodes, and we have a perfectly organized solar system to the point where we can predict 70 years when a comment is coming. the earth rotates on its axis going around -- i mean, so that just happened, right? and they say, well, you know, if you have enough explosion over a long enough period of time, then eventually one of them will be the perfect explosion and that's what will happen. and i said, so if i blow a hurricane for junkyard over billions of years, billions of times, eventually after one of them it would be a pretty formed 747 ready to fly, right?
well, that's what you're saying. and i say you're welcome to the belief. i have no problem. i'm not going to denigrate you because of that. it's just that requires a lot more faith than it does for me to believe. >> host: if someone asked you or your creationist, do you believe in evolution, you would answer -- i i believe that god created heaven and earth. i find it much easier to believe. because you to recognize that you take somebody like charles darwin who, as you probably know, started out in a seminary. but he got to the point where, you know, he goes off to the galapagos islands. he starts saying stuff. he's never seen finches like that anyplace else. he said, that's evidence of evolution. well, it depends on how you look at it. now, two years before, which he did know at the time, there had been a very severe drug.
the only finches that survived were the ones that had beaks have enough to break the seedlings to extract nutrition. so what actually believe is happening is that you have a creator that's given his creatures the ability to adapt to the environment so he wouldn't have to start over. >> host: is allegedly the natural selection. so you believe in some parts of darwinism but not holding? >> guest:folding? >> guest: i may not call the darwinism but i believe in a caption. creatures with the ability to adapt to environment. if i were the creator of which were to get my creatures that ability to. >> host: is at 6000 or a billion? >> guest: the earth? i don't know the edge to the. the bible says in the beginning god created heaven and earth, period. >> host: five had some people say when they could've been a billion years. >> guest: but we don't know. >> host: people -- you are
saying 6000 years -- i would just say there's nothing that tells us how old the earth is in the bible. it could be billions of years old. but also i believe that the reason god is god is because he can do stuff we can do. so if you wanted to create something already had age in it, he could do that, absolutely. that's why he would be god. >> host: and so your scientific education, you feel like does not conflict with your faith, your belief? >> guest: i've never had an instance where my belief in god has conflicted my ability to be a good neurosurgeon. >> host: alec baldwin have a character that he played in absence of malice and he was a surgeon with a god complex. that is a supposedly stereotype of surgeons. is that just an unfair hollywood view of most surgeons country
there's no question that there are some surgeons who have fairly large egos. and, in fact, it's especially kind of -- >> host: you can be confident, right. >> guest: those are not going to become surgeons, okay? so it does look for the kind of people but i know a lot of incredibly nice surgeons. and critically caring decent people. >> host: i guess i get why they might have a god complex because they are the only one who can solve a problem in their head. and that's where this comes from a little bit. >> guest: and it's unfortunate but -- >> host: how did you prevent it? it's easy. you were at johns hopkins and. this is the elite of the elite. outage keep your head from getting a god complex? >> guest: because i personally remember comments to remember, where i came from. and i also recognize that a lot of things depend on a lot of
other situations. there were a lot of important go people involved in virtually everything that i've done. i make that clear to people. i tell the residents, everybody else, there are always other people involved. my mother, if she hadn't given me what i needed, i probably would've ended up working in a factor a sweeping the floor. not that there's a big with those because we need those people but i would not have realized my potential. with some of the very complex operations, you know, you think about the first set of conjoined twins that were joined at the back of the head, that kind of thing had never been done with them surviving before. but i had to consult with a cardiothoracic surgeons who were extremely good and understood the whole concept of hypothermic
a rest and sit there with them if it how do we work together and work with a plastic surgeons. how are we ever going to get discovered after we get, you know, a lot of people besides myself involved in those kinds of things. >> host: i want to get to the hard and deep parts of this book but one more question on science. what is your scientific background tell you about climate change? >> guest: it tells me that if you look at the earth at any given point in time, temperature story they're going up or they're going down. over a specific period of time. as you may remember, you might be too young, in the '70s, it was time for "newsweek," i don't remember having this big glacier on the front, a new ice age is coming. now is global warming. it depends on what peter did you look at. here is what i say about it. whether we're getting old or whether we're getting warmer, we have a responsibility to take care of our vibrant. that's the bottom line.
we don't have to sit here and argue that whether we're getting hotter or colder. we need to argue but how do we intelligently take care of -- >> host: effectively something has changed. you look at nuke city, new jersey, bigger seawalls. you have to make public policy decisions based on what you think is coming. so that's the importance of figuring this out, is it not? >> guest: but it's also important not to get overly involved in paranoia about it. you know, our epa as far as i'm concerned should be working in conjunction with our research facilities and with industry to say, how can we best utilize our natural resources, and that the same time respect our environment? rather than saying, no, we're not developing this, we're not developing this because, you know, i don't think that's a wise use of our intellect and
our resources. >> host: i guess i look at, remember the great concern about the hole in the ozone layer. there was a lot of focus on what we thought it was, but we basically, the entire aerosol industry changed and the hole closed. so this is a case where a problem was identified, a solution was identified, industry thought it hard and then lo and behold we've moved on. industry adapted. >> guest: but i'm not saying we shouldn't do that. >> host: so you believe we should always pursue some of these kinds of things? >> guest: absolutely, but i'm saying we need to take a balanced approach. as you saw from reading the book, i said in just about everything. remember when i said at the national prayer breakfast in order for an eagle to fly high and straight it needs two wings. a left wing and a right wing. if you do everything in a lopsided way, my way or the highway, you're going to crash.
>> host: let me start with chapter to because it's interesting. you are this highly intelligent person. he went to the best schools, you've taught at the best schools. yet you are concerned about the elitism. >> guest: the reason i'm concerned about elitism is because the are a class of people, for instance, you see in a lot of our universities right now. who believe that they are sort of that beacon of light for everything. and anybody who doesn't agree with them, not only do they not want to hear them, they don't want anyone to them. they don't want anybody to them. if they have a business, they want to shut it down. if they have a reputation they want to destroy it. where does that come from unless you just believe you are the cats meow? >> host: so you feel like it is academic elitism is among the more -- let me ask when did you first say i'm into politics? i'm following this. when did you make that transition from scientist and
highly acclaimed surgeon, johns hopkins saying, you know what, i want to get into the legal fray. what was the trigger? >> guest: i don't know that there was a dramatic moment. if you look back through books i've written over the last 20-30 years, you will see that when talking about these issues for decades. if you go back to the book i wrote in 1999, you will see a whole health reform program laid out there. so i'm not johnny-come-lately to these issues, but the thing that really changed me in the procession of people as the national prayer breakfast in 2013. because i just spoke my mind. i spoke about what i really saw as a problem and why i was concerned about it. because i very much love the nation that we live in. i don't want to see it
fundamentally change. >> host: you have an interesting challenge in chapter six of your book, which you say to somebody which is this concern i have and how people consume too much of only one side. they only follow, if they're conservative they follow conservative on twitter. they only watch one show here or one channel there. you say pretend you're a different, member of a different political party from yours and make a rational defense of one of the issues. so a rational defensecome and put you on the spot, a rational defense of the president's health care plan. >> guest: okay. that's easy to do. everybody should have health insurance. we need to find a way to make that possible. and since we know a lot, we have a lot of really bright people, we can probably figure out better than the private sector and we certainly know better than the people themselves who
are actually very benign. >> host: let me stop you there. you are saying we know better. let me push you more. what parts of the president's plan do you think were good parts? is there any part of the president's health care plan we should keep? >> guest: certainly lifetime limits. >> host: you do some very expensive surgery so you sort of understand, a young family having a pediatric nurse or g4 the child, that's a bankrupt deal. >> guest: sure. preexisting diseases but excluding people on the basis of that. those are horrible things. in fact, i talked to a high administration official before the thing was passed. i said, there's some good stuff in here. i said, i agree with the. i agree virtually everybody, why not take those things and make them the foundation of health care reform? it would be a bipartisan effort,
and then let's build it together. because health care is something we all need. why can't we work on this together? i said, if you push it through on one party and you have unanimous disagreement, all you are going to do is create rancourt internet going to have cooperation for anything. why would you do that? and he said, you're probably right that this is washington and this is politics. that's the third problem. when we take these important issues and would make them into politics, we just keep polarizing, and a wise man once said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. >> host: not just any wise man. arguably the wisest men of this country. >> guest: so why do we have to keep doing this? why do i call that book "one nation"? because i think our strength is in our unity. not in our decisions. we, the american people, are not -- >> host: it sounds like you
would admit the first goal, what you are citing are alike are the reforms in the insurance industry. it was the next step is taken out how to expand and at least give universal access is where the collision happened. >> guest: and we can give universal access because we spend twice as much per capita as the next closest nation. it's not that we have not put adequate resources. so think we need to be boring -- we need to be pouring more money into it, that's foolish as. what we need to think about is how do we design it in a reasonable way. that's what i have identified health savings accounts because people have control of what they're going to spend their money on. >> host: you in fact have an idea in here, you would say from birth to death. you would get a health care savings account. walked me through that. how is it funded? >> guest: they decided to leave right after the ways. people who work can be funded through their employers.
people are indigent, the same money that we spend four -- >> host: medicaid? >> guest: that would go into this health savings account to you don't lose it if you don't use a. there are no limits on a. so all kinds, if you're having a birthday party, you could say please contribute to my hsa. it accumulates throughout your lifetime. i also give the people the ability -- >> host: there are european countries is look at the beginning of birth and human. some of it is for child care. some of it is for this. which for some government government money in this hsa at the beginning. >> guest: people who need government money -- >> host: you would automatically start out maybe $5000? >> guest: people who need money. but if we take all the people who are needed in this country and we put, you know, money into their hsa, they will all far short of what we're spending now with inefficient programs.
so here's the key thing. people began to be responsible. you need to have something done, you're going to think this through. remember when the food stamps program first started to a lot of people said, you can't do that because people will be a responsible. there's no way they're going to double the use of appropriate. they will go out and buy porterhouse steaks the first fund and starve the rest of the month. >> host: that's what had to put limits on. >> guest: you don't have to put limits on the. people learn themselves. i'm going to buy some hamburger and some hamburger helper. they will learn to stretch it out and make it work. they will do the same thing if they have control of the health savings account. that would bring the whole medical system into the free market economic forum, which would control price and quality. >> host: it sounds like you would make an argument hospitals are much a problem is anybody
because a hospital would charge some ridiculous amount. my father died of a very long disease. my mother would go through the bill line by line and sh she wod find double she would find doublethink she would find double things and she would send it to the insurance company to let them know. they were charging crazy amounts of money that is unfathomable because they know somebody is paying for it. >> guest: no. it's because the costs they know of this may be only be $2000, but if they put that cost down, the engines companies will pay $300. therefore if we put 20,000 down, then maybe they will pay us 3000. it's all gained. >> host: this is a total gain. this is a case where i think it sounds, the administration and hospitals were the big, that was a tough one to crack. they ended up working with the insurance companies, not with the hospital's. >> guest: but remember, if you were in charge of your as -- through your hsa, you're not going to go to the hospital that doesn't. you go to the other one which
will make this will start acting like this one. that's the way the free market works. >> host: you think the only way to truly reform health care system is to basically get out of the insurance business? >> guest: you can't have all these artificial influences. >> host: you ar were almost advocating for no insurance, no health insurance. >> guest: no. what i'm saying is for all of your routine health care, 80% of everything that you going to have to deal with can easily be paid through your hsa. but you've got to remember, people do have major and catastrophic issues that come up. that's what your insurance is for. >> host: so everything should be catastrophic. so for instance, there was a cancer policies that were big in the '80s and 90s but those don't exist anymore. they don't sell them. >> guest: that's why have health insurance. >> host: taken of the stuff off the insurance industry
completely? >> guest: correct. and remember, you find her ankle, you think you need an x-ray? that's coming out of your ask -- your hsa. you need a physical exam? hsa. birth control pills? hsa. no hobby lobby. what happens? you are not infringing upon your major medical. what happens to the cost of it? >> host: it should come down. let's live i in the real world where we of interest lobbies and the insurance companies and hospitals and all these people who have gotten rich. health care is among the fastest-growing sector in our economy. it is considered a money maker in the semi-private sector. i say semi, because we know that medicare and without some of these things, so how do and not your plan in the world we live in? >> guest: keep in mind what i'm talking about insurance, insurance is insurance. it all works basically the same way. like your homeowners insurance, if you have a high deductible, guess what happens to the price? it plummets. if you want everything taken
care of, guess what happens? same thing. exactly the same. >> host: chapter seven, use the phrase enslaving our children to it's a chapter on the debt. some of your language that you've used has, you talk about this, the politically correct police, but words do matter and it did offend folks. so why not curtail some of your language? >> guest: well, what defense people that sent? >> host: i think it depends on their point of view. it may be your political decision and are looking for ways -- there are also two ways people get offended. >> guest: when i talk about political correctness i'm talking about not being able to express how you actually feel. >> host: so insulated our children, some african-americans would say, slavery is awful, slavery -- taken by the national debt to slavery is doing a disservice to slavery.
>> guest: and what i would say about that widget type in the book, it's the whole hypersensitivity thing. a lot of things don't bother people but then somebody comes, did you do what he said? they fan the flames to you should be offended. house of representatives it works really well in 140 characters by the way. >> guest: this is the same stuff they use use to go in the third grade playground. did you hear what he said about your mama? come on. we don't have to do with it. we have real major problems that we have to deal with. the reason i talk about enslaving our young people is because this level of debt, i don't think most people can even comprehend $17.5 trillion going on 18 trillion. if you try to pay the $18 trillion at $10 million a day, it would take you 5000 years. that is an absurd amount of money. the only reason we can sustain that is because the u.s. dollar is the reserve currency of the world.
what if we were not? that's a designation agenda goes with the number one economy in the world, which we have been since the 1870s. we are going to lose it soon. >> host: china? china is a mass. >> guest: the rms but they're growing at six to 7%. how much are we going? >> host: right. >> guest: they are going to pass as a. however, i don't believe they're going to become the same kind of force. look at their banking system. >> host: there's a lot of problems they're going to face. >> guest: right. however, here's the issue. russia start and talk about and some other nations about creating a basket currency. instead of the u.s. dollar being the basis, it would be a hodgepodge of things. what will that do to us? it will rob us or deeply this from the ability to print money. what happens when you can't print money and you have the kind of debt that we have? stop and think about that. >> host: let me ask you about
race. you talk about political correctness. i look at the last 30 years and i think when i grew up, we had more honest discussion in the '70s about race than we do today. we are actually afraid -- we say something happens, somebody attacks the president and we said we're going of a real conversation about race, and we don't. there's some fear there. so let me start first with this. do you think there's some come do you believe that some people are against the president so but because of the color of his skin? >> guest: if you see some people go on sure there are some people who are against -- >> host: do you think -- >> guest: i don't think it's a large number of people anymore. i do think people are very much influenced by their perceptions. so, for instance, if somebody told you, you know, carson these evil, terrible guy, and he's
scheming over time. and then you met me, you would interpret everything i did, he's scheming. and if somebody on the other hand, would say, he's a really nice guy, he loves everybody, and you say okay, i can see that. somebody do so is looking for racism, no matter what you say to them, you know, they are perceiving it as racism. >> host: have you experienced racism? >> guest: i'm sure that there probably has been some summer along the line but it will just not been a big factor for me. my mother told me something very important when i was young. she said if you walk into an auditorium full of racist, bigoted people, she said, you don't have a problem. they have a problem. because they are all going to cringe and wonder if you're going to sit next to them and you can go sit anywhere you want. [laughter] it's the way i've kind of like my life. if someone has a problem with it, enjoy. i've got more important things to do.
>> host: do you think race has benefited you? >> guest: i don't think it's hurt me. i don't think it's benefited me. i think it is a wash. i think, particularly in the profession that i spent my whole life in as in researching. now, i fully recognize early on in my career, i would come into the room, some eyebrows would kind of go up, you know? is black a guy is going to operate? wow. >> host: so you did feel a little bit of that traffic i would feel a little bit, but by the time i got through talking with them, here's the problem, here's how we are going to handle it, you would see that completely melt away. >> host: you entered a field i would argue in some ways it is so results oriented, you entered a perfect place to sort of if you wanted numbers, in science, numbers don't lie.
that's going to trump everything else. >> guest: without question. and that's the wonderful thing about medicine. there was a procedure that i started abdicating which was very, very controversial. people were complaining. they would complain to the president of the hospital, again, the department chairman, the american medical association, even when up to the ama. but by the time i was able to reveal the numbers. they demonstrated that not a single person had died and that was very little in the way of complications. that ended the controversy. that wouldn't work in politics. >> host: numbers don't lie. people have the own set of facts and it really is a set of half-truths on both sides and the question is everybody is grounded a little but in truth, just enough to defend their position. i want to go to an economic issue. the advocate for a flat 10% tax. everybody has to contribute something. >> guest: i didn't say 10%. but it needs to be proportional. the reason i use 10% because
it's very easy to do the math house of representatives fair enough estimate but it needs to be whatever it needs to be to support government. but it needs be proportionate because what you to recognize is by having this very skewed system with all of these deductibles and things. there are a lot of people who make enormous amounts of money, who pay very little in taxes. 10% would be a lot to the. >> host: because there are so new ways for them to hide taxes. >> guest: and i think that's craziness and we don't have to do that. on the other hand, i believe it's insulting for people who make small unless the money to say, you poor little thing, you don't have to do anything, i'm going to take care of you. i believe if they really stopped and thought about it, they would want to be, even though they wouldn't be country been a lot, they are still carrying their
weight. >> host: let me propose a counter argument in here on this group of folks that don't pay any federal income tax. if they go to a casino, if they buy a lottery ticket, in somewhat all of this gaming we use, it parades on the poor. >> guest: it does. >> host: they are spending more money funding our schools whether it's detroit that they decide to go casino caliber of the places, they are putting tax dollars into pockets. they're putting tax money in. so there are ways that this group, while they are not writing a check to the federal government, they are contribute in arguably more money to education in a game situation than the rich. >> guest: however, gaming, that's what we are doing is gaming the system with this complex tax system but if we have something that's simple and easy to figure out, first of all, we are going to have a predictable amount of money that we're going to bring in. we will know what we need in
order to run the government. the other thing that you might have noticed, i'm not a big proponent of gigantic government. why do i say that? in 2010, we have the statistics for that, if to the income of everybody who made $69,000 above, i pulled 1 trillion. what was the federal budget? 3.5 trillion. 60% of everything the middle class and above makes. does that make sense? no, of course it doesn't. so obviously we need to reduce it. i propose a very simple and fair way to thousands of government employees retire every year. don't replace them. you can shift people around but don't replace them. you do that for about four years, get down to a manageable size. that doesn't fire anybody. and if people are down to a manageable size, they can concentrate on what they are supposed to be doing. >> host: as you and i well
know, something happens. say at the veterans affairs, at a va hospital were something exciting than anybody is up in arms and we find out there just weren't enough people to do this. all of these things in the grand scheme of things make a lot of sense and we know the way government and politics were. how do you prevent the politics of the way this town works which is, oh, my gosh, look at this problem in the federal government. we're going to have to fix it, and everybody, democratic and republican, has to throw money at it just make sure, but they don't understand, a lot of people to understand the fundamental problems of va. i worked in va hospitals are wonderful people, doctors, nurses, therapists, great people, wonderful patients. love them to death. huge amount of bureaucracy between this group and this group. that's the problem. get rid of that stuff. honestly, there are some things that the veterans hospitals do
very well, post-traumatic stress, disorders -- >> host: and you think they should be specialized. >> guest: put everybody else should go to other hospitals. >> host: go somewhere else. i wanted in a little more political, which is the use a c. word that i don't hear conservatives use it very often which is compromised. there's a difference between compromised, 50% of what you want, and common ground which is a 10.10% you both agree on. what's better in this case quick you are advocating for compromise. you want more 50/50 proposition's. >> guest: when i talk about compromise, i'm talking about compromise and methods. not necessarily a compromise in values and in principal. >> host: i should say this is in chapter 10. >> guest: right. so when i look at democrats, i look at republicans, except for
the fringes, i think we all pretty much want the same thing. we've allowed ourselves to be revved up into this group of hyper partisans, which we really shouldn't and don't have to be. >> host: where does it come from? we are more polarized. i can show you the numbers are more people identifying as liberals and conservatives. more people have really felt, they will describe liberals, conservatives and awful names now and conservatives will do the same thing. they think the other side thinks they don't love america. that's where we've taken it too far. >> guest: leadership. it starts with leadership. a leader is somebody who can take a variety of individuals, create a vision and have everybody working together to accomplish that.
a bad leader is someone who says to this group, that group is against you. they are the bad ones. we would get everything done if it weren't for them. that's bad leadership. another aspect is multitasking. during the current administration we have had, former administration. during the previous initiation there wasn't enough multitasking. it was like focus on the war and trying to make sure that america didn't get attacked again. but you have to be able to multitask. we've had a pretty long drought since we've had the kind of leadership that says, america, let's remember who we are. had we made mistakes? of course we have. all people have made mistakes. >> host: give me some examples of leaders who you think i've done it the right way. >> guest: well, john kennedy. this was a guy who came in, he
was 44 years old. look at the stuff that was going on. you know, bay of pigs, you know, the cuban missile crisis, the civil rights movement. the economy was horrible, unemployment, you know. and the russians had passed us in the space race. what did he do? the used the bully pulpit to say within 10 years will put a man on the moon and bring them back. talibanize business, industry, academic, everybody behind the project. they started working together. are able to accomplish it. he put his brother bob in charge of the civil rights movement. bobby was very compassionate. that guy had his ear to the ground. he was are a smart. he faced down the russians and faced a world war iii. didn't blink. they did. you know, he defied his own party.
they said we need to raise taxes. he said just the opposite. we need to lower taxes. it had a tremendous and really grating effect. incredible brave guy. ronald reagan. look at the kind leadership he provided, which actually resulted in the dissolution of the soviet union. and the winning of the cold war without firing a shot. you know, bravery, statesmanship, working across the aisle. he was able to work with the democrats. and kennedy was able to work with republicans. >> host: so do you see any leadership like that right now in either party? >> guest: i think there's potential, and one of the reasons that i can to keep speaking out is i want people on both sides to understand this. >> host: do you think hillary clinton has potential try to of course she does. >> host: what did you think of bill clinton? >> guest: i was very pleased with the fact that he is able to
work with the republicans to get the budget under control. of course, you know the whole history of that. >> host: it takes two to tango. there's an argument maybe you can't do a big budget deal with one party. it may be impossible. >> guest: so that was good. as you probably know this, i does the time talking negatively about people. >> host: no, you don't. >> guest: what i would rather do is spend time talking about how do we solve the problem. because we have the capability to we are a smart people. we are innovative people. but we have to create the environment that offers hard work and that honors innovation and. >> host: you bring up yourself in this book after your speech at the national prayer breakfast, what about ben carson for president. so i ask you, why would you consider it?
how serious are you considering at? >> guest: the reason, first of all, certainly not my plan for retirement after a very long and arduous commute. -- career. however, there's so many people, every place i go, it's unbelievable the crowds that show up. i go to a book signing and people are like string out the door. there's a way people. they can't even begin. they are all saying, you've got to do this, and in the beginning i didn't take it that seriously, but it just keeps happening. and i have to ask myself, you know, at some point do you have to put aside what you are planning and listen? >> host: you said in many ways you see this little bit of faith, a little bit of gods plan. >> guest: absolutely. >> host: do you feel like -- >> guest: i believe that america, despite what president
obama said, is a judeo-christian nation. and i believe that because i have done a lot of reading about the founding of the station. all your to do is go back and read the letters. >> host: every religious. >> guest: the people who say our founders would be as have no idea what they're talking about. the evidence is quite clear that they have strong faith. so i believe that it was those judeo-christian principles that led us to the pinnacle of the world, and do a much higher pinnacle than anybody else had ever experienced. >> host: you don't have a lot of fabulous things to say about the republican party. so i wonder, and to been thinking about your potential candidacy, a few grand would you be more comfortable running under a party banner, or sounds to me like you would be more comfortable not running under a political party? >> guest: if i ran i would run as republican. i would run as to i wouldn't run
as an independent because all that does is split the vote. i don't think i'll be welcomed in the democratic party. >> guest: >> host: you would pick one of the two parties. >> guest: yes. >> host: they distrust inside both parties right now. part of it is this populist thing. the right thinks i'm not getting a fair deal and its governments fall to the left thinks i'm a getting a fair deal, it's wall street's fault. you can make an argument they are both right in some ways. that's why i've wondered if some of this boils over to more of a ross perot movement and people go outside the party structures. >> guest: after seeing what happened with ross perot -- >> host: that's what convinces you but if what reform you have to go inside -- >> guest: right. but i will select is the situation where we emphasize party. i just don't think, i mean, i
think it's nice to have -- >> host: that's truly going back to the founders. they didn't want parties. some of them. that was the big argument. >> guest: we're all americans. i think we have to be doing things that work for all of us. one of the things that offends me to no end is when we take our constitution and we say, i'm going to enforce this part but not this part. and this group gets indexed -- an exemption but do so does. i can't even tell you how that makes me feel. >> host: let me ask you about the constitutionality. it's sort of like, and franco we just saw a court case go this way. it's the letter of the law, the spirit of the law. >> guest: i think it is the letter and i want a way. first of all it's only 16 of the 30 pages but it's not 2700 pages of. >> host: that's right. and easy read.
>> guest: it clearly delineates the responsibilities of the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. so all other matters are referred -- deferred to the states. if you just knew that, it could take a great deal about what we should and should not be doing. >> host: quick little lightning round. gay marriage you seem to be pro-civil union. at that point what is the different? >> guest: what i am pro- and what i define very clearly, i said any two adults, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the right to bind themselves in some type of a legal manner so that property rights, visitation rights, what ever. >> host: to many people that's a distinction without a difference. why not come out for gay marriage? >> guest: because i think marriage is a sacred institution. it's between a man and a woman and it has been for thousands of years. my problem is if we start changing it for one group, why
would you not change it for the next group? where would you draw the line? would you say we just are going to change it this one time, we will never change it again. how is that going to go over? >> host: marijuana? >> guest: we have multiple studies that demonstrate that it has a very deleterious effect on a developing brain and the brain develops right up until the late '20s. therefore, unless you don't believe the medical evidence, why would we even be having a discussion? >> host: what is worse, alcohol or marijuana? >> guest: certainly if you use a great deal of our call, that can be destructive also. >> host: arguably more harmful traffic they could be. it has the potential. but i'm not sure any of those things should be supplied to the developing brain.
>> host: dr. ben carson, i enjoyed. i hope people get an idea for you are, the book "one nation" to you wrote it. can be caused issue i so basically she make sure you got your book done. >> guest: she keeps me on the straight and narrow. >> host: and the two books she has been on our best sellers. >> guest: thank you. ..
okay. can we sit down please? thank you. thank you very much. nami audiences are always so cooperative. good morning, everyone. welcome to the nami convention. good morning. good morning. i would like to announce the color guard. welcome the color guard and ask everyone to stand and to remove your hats and, veterans, in the room, you may salute. i would like to ask everyone to remain standing after the color guard finishes until they're out of the room, thank you.
now it gives me great pleasure to nami's executive director, marry giliberti. [applause] >> welcome to our national convention. i am so excited to see all of you here today and welcome to our national day of action. i hope you're ready to take some action. we want congress to act and so today our supporters here and around the country going to be calling, emailing, treating and visiting capitol hill. when you visit capitol hill i want you to remember that you
are part of the nameey movement. we are a movement of people dedicated to providing help and hope to all of those affected by mental illness. a movement demands a more caring and a better mental health care system, that provides help to us when we need it and where we need it. [applause] that's right. a movement that rages against homelessness, emergency rooms, jails, and prisons. we've had too much of that and we want it to change. [applause] and a movement that fights for recovery, for people with mental illness, for jobs, for homes, for family and for friends. for the ability to use all of your gifts and all of your talents.
[applause] this movement will tell congress today that it's time to act and we will be supported and inspired by our speakers today. the first probably needs no introduction but i'm going to give him one anyway. patrick kennedy served eight years in congress until 2011, representing rhode island's first district. he was the leading champion of the national mental health parity bill which was passed in 2008. he has been -- yes. [applause] he has been the recipient of nami's highest honor, our distinguished service award. he continues to be a leading voice for scientific research and transformation of mental health care and patrick is all of those things but he is so much more. he is a beacon of hope for all of those who struggle with
mental illness and addiction. i had the privilege this summer of visiting a pier run drop-in center on chicago on 42nd street. i got a real warm welcome. they couldn't wait to tell me from their visit from patrick kennedy. what a difference he made by telling his story in such a heartfelt way the way he always does. one of them said it bees. he is one of us. that is how we feel at nami. patrick is one of us. he has been a great friend to nami, a great friend to those in the mental health community and we want to welcome our great friend, patrick kennedy. [applause] >> thank you very much. well, when i was in congress, you know, i got used to that
standing ovation. now that i'm out of congress, i'm just going to stand up here and soak it in because i'm in recovery and not only recovery from -- [applause] i'm in recovery from being a in politics. let me just say from the outset how great mary has been in terms of hitting the ground run, really coming in. talk about trying to drink water from a fire hydrant, she came in at a time that will be the most formative time in mental health advocacy in the last 50 years and we couldn't be more proud to have you as executive director of nami here. [applause] and ron hamburg and andrew sperling, terrific policy team who are getting you already to
go to the hill. your whole nami team is exceptional. i had the honor of working with them for many years. let me just first say to demi lovato, i told her backstage, she is already a hit. we know she has produced lots of hits but she is already a hit star with all of us because she's willing to stand up, in the light, and say, she is one of us too. [applause] my daughter, my 6-year-old daughter loves skyscraper and, she, i will tell you, demi, you're our skyscraper when it comes to standing up tall when things are falling around us because of stigma,
discrimination against mental health. have someone like you willing to take a stand means something to all of us. we're really grateful again that you're here. [applause] now, most of you have heard of my uncle, president john kennedy, but one of the things that president kennedy was known for was his book, "profiles in courage." and if he were alive today, and were adding another chapter to that historic book, he would include senator and mrs. mrs. creigh deeds in that book. [applause] senator, like my family, your tragedy was exhibited in public, in a way that should not have to
be be for any family. instead of running away from the problem, you ran towards it. you took your own devastating, incomprehensible personal tragedy, and you showed the light of your own family's experience, facing a fragmented, uncoordinated mental health system which was the responsibility of all of us to do better on and showed what the ultimate consequences of that failed system is through the loss of your son, and you, more than anyone, have helped america understand what is at stake if we do nothing to repair this broken mental health system. senator deeds and mrs. deeds, we owe you a debt of responsibility to fulfill your mission to fix the system so that it doesn't
have to befall any other family like it did your own and for that we are very grateful for your leadership. [applause] president kennedy in 1963 talked about the civil rights act this way. he said, who amongst us would trade the color of their skin and be content with those who counsel patients and delay. you see at the time many people said, we can take another 10,
15, 20 years, to implement civil rights. it's okay. let's take our time. that means one thing to a white american. it means something entirely different if the color of your skin is dark in this country, and you are discriminated against simply because of the color of your skin. who amongst us would trade places with that person? and be content with those who tell just wait. now is not the time. we face a similar moment in history today. because this is a issue that is a civil rights issue. it's about the discrimination against our brothers and sisters simply because of the immutable
fact that their illness -- [applause] that their illness, as immutable as the color of their skin, is an illness of the brain as opposed to a illness of any other organ of the body. shortly after president kennedy put the civil rights bill before congress he took on another civil rights bill, the community mental health act and he said, the mentally i'll need no longer alien to our affections or beyond the help of our communities. [applause] have you ever heard something so clear in terms of what we need today. the mentally i will need --
mentally i'll need no longer be alien to our affections. pretty basic. you will go up to the hill to advocate simple things. making sure families are no part of the treatment planning for their loved ones, just as they would be if their loved one was coming out of the hospital for any other physical illness. [applause] you're going to go up there and say, don't those with brain illnesses deserve the same coordinated care as any other chronic illness that is out there? and why shouldn't our health care system reflect the desire to optimize care by making sure that it's coordinated for the benefit of the patient? this is pretty simple stuff, my
friends. [applause] you're going to go up there and talk about the fact that this is simply about treating the brain like any other organ of the body. [applause] now i could, we could spend all day as you often do at your nami meetings going through the litany of discriminatory practices embedded in federal law and federal regulation. it is replete with discrimination. so rather than letting the congress get lost in the details, make sure as mary gilbertty did in her article in "roll call," we keep it simple, my friends. this is not complicated.
treat mental illness the same as every other illness and we will make enormous difference in tackling the challenges that face us. so, but how do we treat it? if this were cancer, it there would be a revolution in this country. this would be, if this were diabetes, there would be a revolution in this country. the way we pay for mental health care today is we say to the mentally ill and those with addictions, come back when you have stage 4 cancer. that is what we would be saying to them. say, come back for treatment when you need your legs amputated as a diabetic. we wouldn't think of saying that to anybody with diabetes or anyone with cancer and we shouldn't think of saying it for those who are suffering from mental illness and addiction.
[applause] and then, and then, we say, well, these problems are too great. we can't get our arms around them. they're intractable and they're uncurable. wait a second here. if you let cancer metastasize to stage 4, yes, it is pretty difficult to treat. if you let diabetes get to be where you need amputation, you lose your sight, yes, pretty terrible disease to cure and fix. but if you intervene on first onset of schizophrenia, first onset of addiction and put in place the kind of preventative measures that we would put in place, if it were any other chronic illness, we would have a different trajectory, and people
would not be forced to have their illness pa thol guised because offing lack of care and untreatment of mentally ill going on too long and creates too many instability and too much mortality. this is a simple issue. [applause] so we need to be clear with congress on our vision for a new mental health system. we can not allow them to simply move deck chairs on the titanic. you understand what i'm saying? we can't let them make this decision about commitment and forced this or that. you know what? if you treated someone early in their illness, they wouldn't be forced to take the high levels of medication they end up having to take because you never take care of them until their illness
becomes pathologized. they wouldn't have the side-effects and wouldn't have compliance issues. this is simple issue. treat it like every other issue. treat it early. treat it aggressively. you will save lives. you will save disability. we'll all as society be better off for it. [applause] now on the commitment issue because it is the most controversial out there, commitment to what? okay? why don't we have the same expectations and standards for care for the mentally ill we expect for every other physical illness? we shouldn't be committing people to substandard care or lack of evidence-based treatment. but on the issue of commitment, i know about it personally.
my brother and sister took guardianship of our mother. so no one needs to talk about these issues to me because like my mother, i have serious depression and bipolar and like my mother, i struggle with addiction and alcoholism. and like my mother, some day god forbid, my children have to save my life. i want them to step up to the plate and save their father's life like i saved my mother's life. [applause] so, i come back to it. you got my refrain? this is simple.
just these illnesses as if they were any other illness, apply those standards to this set of illnesses. the biggest challenge we're facing, and i will wrap up with this, is political will. and that political will is a reflection of the lack of understanding and it is result of cultural indifference and bigotry which feed the prejudice and discrimination that affects those with mental illness like myself. so my proposal would be, let's, like the civil rights act, we had to pass the voting rights act, to define what we meant by civil rights. we had to pass the fair housing act what we meant by civil rights. we had to pass the fair employment act to define what we meant by civil rights. i hope we don't have to go around and begin to define what
is common sense, what is basic, and that is, like my friend tim murphy said, treat one another with dignity and respect. if you do that the rest of it will fall into place. [applause] i will conclude with this. my father was known for compromises. now, no one said that my father capitulated. okay? my dad was a champion and a stalwart for the liberal cause. but when it came to advancing the national interests, not just his party interests, he worked with orrin hatch and mike enzi and john mccain and all of them because, at the end of the day, this is about making progress, not making perfection
the enemy of the good. [applause] so i would say, let's make sure hhs and the department of labor enforce, okay, implement, monitor compliance of, health insurance plans to make sure that they are meeting the federal laws requirements. let's, this is simple stuff. follow the law. okay. and, let's make sure the federal government follows the law. so not only will we hold insurance companies accountable to the law, we need to hold medicaid and our own public health system accountable to the federal law! [applause] so, you know, to, my republican friend, this is easy. just do what everyone says,
follow the law. you know, you pass laws. now you have got to live by them. apply i had to medicaid. my democratic friends say apply the law to these managed care organizations who like to impose higher treatment and financial limitations on those suffering from mental illness. follow the law. let's implement it, let's monitor compliance and then let's do the other things that we know is going to make a difference in deinstitutionalizing people from the new institutions, the jails, and prisons. so we can finally treat people with the dignity and respect that they deserve. [applause] we have a moment of time now, because the newest population that are within our ranks are returning veterans from iraq and afghanistan, suffering from the quote, unquote, invisible wounds
of war. so any member of congress who said, oh, well, those are the mentally ill, those people with addiction, they're not a very popular crowd around here, because they don't stack up in the measurement of political, you know, power in this town. tell them that what we have been fighting for, our whole lives is now what is necessary to save the lives of our returning heroes, and there shouldn't be a democrat or a republican out there who says, no, to the agenda that you take up to capitol hill today. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you so much, patrick.
i told you our speakers today would be inspiring. i'm happy to introduce to you now a wonderful leader, nami's interim president jim payne and long-time nami member and advocate, betsy greer. >> good morning. i'm so happy to be here. this is such an exciting morning and thank you, mary. and i join patrick kennedy and on behalf of the board in saying how glad we are you are serving as executive director. i'm deeply indebted to our special guests here this morning. and of course saddened at some of the circumstances that at times bring any of us into this room together. i will say that i am happy at this particular moment though to, in a moment introduce my dear friend, betsy greer. my nameis jim payne. i do serve as interim president for nami. i am from virginia and from,
active with nami, northern virginia, hello to everyone there from northern virginia. and betsy greer, a long-time leader in the nami northern virginia fill rat is here. together our privilege to jointly present, i will introduce betsy here to take it from hear, to jointly present our next speaker with nami's richard t. greer advocacy award named in honor of betsy's late husband who was nami's first legislative director. much. [applause] >> good morning. 2014 marks nami's 35th's anniversary. richard greer served as nami's they are full-time employee and its first director of government relations. that was back when the national office was a one bedroom apartment on
massachusetts avenue. those were the days when our loved ones were being discharged from state psychiatric hospitals and returned to their home communities. they were extremely ill, but their families had no skills or support to care for them. and those times richard greer usually din come home for supper until 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening, answering calls from across the nation from people seeking help for their loved ones. what do i need? where do i find services? what programs help? whom should i call? it was through those phone calls that richard greer found nami foot soldiers to carry the message of the need for better services and programs. he sent them to capitol hill just as you are being asked to go today. are you ready?
[applause] this year's recipient of the richard t. greer advocacy award is virginia state senator creigh deeds, who is using the power of his own family's story as a force for change. he used it to educate the virginia general assembly about the need for better services. he has spoken out nationally and his words communicated many of nami's own messages. they are not easy messages. on november 19th of last year, creigh deeds lost his bright son gus, who struggled with bipolar disorder. as in many nami story, creigh deeds desperately sought to get help for his son but could not, not in time. in presenting this award, i want you to know creigh deeds, i as
one virginian, will work as hard as i can to support you in working to insure that other virginians are spared the pain your family has experienced. i will work with you so that our loved ones can live in our communities safely and to their highest level of independence possible. nami and i share your loss and we honor your courage. welcome to the nami family. as richard greer would say, you are not alone. congratulations. you are a worthy recipient of richard greer advocacy award for your outstanding work, your leadership, and service for all people living with mental illness. [applause]
>> thank you all so much. i've just got a couple of things to say. before i get started i want to acknowledge my wife who is with me, thank you. and some of my colleagues and partners from virginia. my wife, some of my colleagues and partners in the legislative process from virginia. i see george barker and adam evan both in the senate with me. i see ken plum be and patrick cope who are in the house of delegates. i see one of my mentors and next congressman from the 8th congressional district of virginia, don bauer right here.
[applause] i hope i haven't missed anybody. but thank you so much, thank you the national liance on mental illness, thank you, jim payne and betsy greer. i'm honored to receive the richard t. greer advocacy award. i'm humbled by the recognition. i never met mr. greer, his reputation lives on and commitment endures for the work to everyone in this room. i served in the state legislature for almost 23 years. hard to believe, don, you were there at beginning. it has been almost 23 years. throughout my tenure i always fought for improved mental health services and always ashamed by virginia's abysmal ranking in mental health funding. i have to admit mental health was never my top priority. i was involved in economic development, education, transportation, public safety, environmental issues. there were lots of things that were at top of my heap. i promise you, that i will do
anything, i would give anything to not be in this position today. when my world changed forever last november, i knew that i had to do something to make a change. to prevent future tragedies. my family had been dealing with my son's illness for sop years but i never truly understood what gus was going through or how he suffered. i determined to devote my life and my efforts to ange the law to reduce the likelihood that such tragedies would occur in the future to discuss mental health openly and honestly to effort to remove the stigma and insure my son is remembered for who he was, what he did, not how he died. i couldn't do that while sitting on the sidelines or working hine the scenes. my son was unbelievable. he remains in every respect my hero. gus was exactly what i wanted to be.
he was smart, and handsome, strong and inquisitive, confident. such confidence. he was helpful, kind, generous, brilliant. he was so talented, master could any musical instrument. he could sing. he could dance. deep faith in god. was indeed his brother's keeper. could do anything he wanted to do and do it well. his life was just not long enough. i determined to make what changes i could in the past legislative in the intervention crisis area of the law and things that immediately failed gus just prior to his death. but i know that some people, and families live in crisis or live crisis to crisis. and as you in this room know, the problems inherent in the system in virginia are not unique. people have reached out to me, desperate for help, from throughout the country. i know that many people are engulfed in mental illness
including our neighbors and our friend and cowork. >> they have so much to share and so much to contribute to society. who knows whether the cure for cancer are or next big idea to save the earth or unlock the secrets of the universe is locked in the mind of someone who struggles with a disease of the brain. [applause] how many of those bright mind are locked away in our criminal justice system. i represented five people recently in one afternoon in the circuit court of allegheny county, one area i represent as a legislator and lawyer. five people charged with criminal offenses. three went to the pen entry that afternoon. all five, three of them had serious mental health diagnoses. one was a less serious but not unserious at all, depression.
and also had addiction problems and another was just a complete alcoholic. all five struggled. it is just unconscionable so many people are locked away in institutions that simply struggle from mental illness. i'm not finished with the work we did in virginia this year. i'm not finished at all. what we have done is the seen as the beginning of work that must be done, not the end. in words of mike scott, of water boys, that was the river. this is the sea. i've determined to make virginia the leader in mental health. i'm determined that every virginian who is in need, no matter who they are, no matter who they are, no matter what they look like, no matter what the circumstance of their birth, no matter whether they have health insurance, every virginian receive services they need when mental illness strikes. i'm determined to intervene as early as possible, to make sure people who have mental illness
can lead a productive life and families can have support and feel safety and real hope. this morning you will depart from here to visit your congressional representatives on the hill. don't stop there. take this conversation back to your state capitols, to your governor, to your state representatives. share your stories and your experiences. continue to shed light on an issue that is too often left in the shadows. everyone in this room, knows at a personal level, just as i do, that people remain ignorant about mental illness. rather than responding with compassion and understanding, people fear, minimize or deny that which they do not understand. the stigma that results from this ignorance holds us back. we have to educate, we have to put names and faces on the issue. they will remember you. help me to help others understand that the time to act is now. we can not afford to wait for another crisis or tragedy. too many lives have been lost,
too many families changed forever already. we need to be in the prevention business. we need to be in the long-term recovery business. we need to provide as wide a range of services as uniqueness of the individual warrants. the current crisis focused system is failing. the energy and innovation and ideas to fix the system are here in this room. we have no other option but to act. thank you for your excellent work, thank you for this tremendous honor. the work goes on. [applause] >> thank you so much, senator deeds amounts our speakers have shown this morning, the power of our advocacy, flows from our
lived experiences. our next speaker is an especially powerful voice, participating in nami's call to action. recording artist, author, actress and mental health advocate, demi lovato is a profile in courage. like the title of her incredible album, she is unbroken by her personal experience with bipolar depression and eating disorders. last year the u.s. substance abuse and mental health services administration honored her for mentorship of young adults with mental illness and substance abuse issues. her book, staying strong 365 days a year, made "the new york times" best-seller list. this summer, she embarked on a mental health listening and engagement tour to share her story and learn from leaders in the meant tall health advocacy community at events around the country such as ours today. we're especially grateful for
her coming here today, just two days she starts her world tour and be making stops in 2cities across the united states and canada. yeah. [applause] her fan base includes over 24 million die-hard twitter followers and 36 million facebook fans, many of whom we hope will join us today in our day of action. and two of those millions of fans live in my home in arlington, virginia, and are ages 12 and 15. i am very grateful to demi as a mental health advocate, but especially grateful to her as a mom. i can't tell you how much it means to have a celebrity who is a real role model, who takes her fame and uses it to help others, to raise awareness, to help young girls and all of us battle the prejudice that keeps so many
from speaking out and getting help. demi is one of us at nami. she brings help, she brings hope to all those affected by mental illness and we're thrilled to have her here today. [applause] >> thank you so much. that introduction was really overwhelming and, and the most positive way, so thank you. hi, everyone. my people. it is an honor and a privilege to be here today at nami's national day of action. looking out at all of you is so inspiring. it is great to see so many
people dedicated to improving mental health and the lives of others. seeing people of awe ages from all over the country come together, gives me so much hope, that changes is possible. those of us here today know mental illness has no prejudice. it affects people of every race, age, gender, religion and economic status. it doesn't discriminate between republicans or democrats either. [applause] that's why we are here today. we need to send a simple message to our nation's leaders, mental health matters and must be taken seriously. [applause] it is time to act for mental health and pass comprehensive mental health bills this year.
[applause] we're here because groups like nami helped us understand that our voices really do matter. our stories really do matter. we have the power to make a difference and we have the personal experience needed to be taken seriously. we know what it means to have our lives, or the lives of people we love get off track because of mental illness. we understand that mental illness can be serious and absolutely devastating. we also know mental illness can be treatable when we have access to appropriate, comprehensive care. i know it is largely because of our personal experience with mental illness each of us is here today. as i learn more about my own illness and the experience of others, i realize how much we all have in common, even if mental illness has made a few headlines because of my career.
there is, there's a number of ways in which i have been very lucky, yet, even with access to so much, my journey has not been an easy one by any means. during my darkest times i didn't know why i was alive and i definitely didn't like myself. i had very low periods that would so emotionally draining, that i couldn't find the strength to crawl out of bed in the morning. i was withdrawn, disconnected, and very angry. there were stretches of time where i felt nothing but shame. i would medicate myself with drugs and alcohol, in an effort to feel normal. not better, just normal. i didn't understand why somebody like me with all the resources and reasons in the world to be emotionally well, i couldn't find happiness. when i finally got diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, it was
a relief in so many ways. it helped me to start make sense of my bipolar depression and all the harmful things i was doing to cope with it. getting the right diagnosis didn't happen overnight. through the process of being misdiagnosed and misunderstood i learned how important it is to be open with your doctor so you get to the root of what is going on as soon as possible. the journey to living well with bipolar disorder is a process for me involved seeing a therapist, being honest with myself and others, following my treatment plan and taking care of my victim's. it requires comprehensive care. [applause] of the. living well with bipolar order takes work and doesn't happen at once. there wasn't one day when the light simply came on, i said, i'm cured, i'm better.
sometimes the first, second, or even third medication we try isn't one that works the best. but we owe it to ourselves to keep trying. the reality is, that you're not a car who goes into the shop and gets fixed immediately. you need ongoing maintenance. there will always be work left to do. i can only do the work now because i truly believe that i'm worth it and today i'm so grateful for my life and i want to preserve and protect it. [applause] it is my personal mission to share with others of all ages people who are children, that are fans, people that don't know my music at all but hopefully my speech today can have some impact. it is, my mission to share this
with the world and to let them know there is life on the other side of those dark times that seem so hopeless and helpless. i want to show the world there is life, surprising, wonderful, and unexpected life, after diagnosis. [applause] i'm proud to say that i'm living proof that someone can live, love and thrive with bipolar disorder, if they get connected, with the, with professional resources and accept support as soon as possible. that's why i'm participating in the mental health listening and engagement tour, getting to meet peep like you and learning more about the issues that face the mental health community, us. i hope to do my part to make things a little easier for
others and to reduce the shame associated with mental illness. i want to do what i can to make things better for others by becoming the strongest and most informed mental health advocate that i can be. today we have a chance to make history with nami, an organization that has been the forefront of advancing mental health in this country for decades. [applause] we've seen increased attention to our country's broken mental health system over the past few years but we've seen very little action. today our message is very clear, it is time for congress to act for mental health, by supporting the passage of a comprehensive mental health bill this year. [applause]
i understand that the details around comprehensive meant at that tall health care are complex. i'm not a policy expert, in any way shape, or form. i do know the basics of comprehensive care make good sense, common sense. comprehensive care means that as a nation we step up our efforts to prevent suicide, which is currently the second leading cause of death for young adults in the united states. comprehensive care, means that if a man with mental illness gets diabetes or cancer, his doctors work together to determine what is the best approach for his mind and victim's. comprehensive care also means that when a woman leave as psychiatric hospital, there's a process in place to make sure she gets the care that she needs so she didn't end up back in jail, hospitals, or on the streets, or worst of all, even dead.
[applause] at the heart of it, comprehensive care means that our mental health systems reaches people early, and far more often so that fewer people fall through the cracks and suffer alone. i'm so proud to be here with you today, together, as mental health advocates, we can make our voices heard. our shared message is simple, like you said, keep it simple. support passage of a comprehensive mental health bill this year. [applause] so go out there, and make today count. together we will make a difference as we act for mental health. don't forget to tweet and post throughout the day. we all know that gets the word going.
i'm about to right now once i'm, you know, not sitting on an important panel. [laughter] i'm so proud of this community today and i want the entire world to know that i'm proud of everyone in here and i'm also proud of myself for getting the help that need and you can have that too. [applause] >> thank you so much, demi. thank you to everyone on the panel. i want to introduce you now to andrew sperling, nami's director of legislative advocacy, who has important information about our capitol hill visits today.
>> thank you, mary, just a few final logistical details before you head up to capitol hill and prepare to get on the buses. proceed to the main lobby, past the marble floor, there will be a number of nami staff to direct you to your bus. it takes approximately 20 minutes to get from here to capitol hill. they will let you off at corner of first street and c streets southwest, just adjacent to the entry to the cannon house office building. they will get you to the rayburn buildings on house side. those with meets on senate side, walk across the east front of the capitol, past the supreme court to the russell senate, dirksen, heart senate office buildings. if state delegation has meeting at 10:00, get at first set of buses leaving at approximately 9:15. if your state does not have meetings until later in the morning, wait for the second
wave of buses departing hotel around 10:45. the buses will depart, initially between 10:00 and 10:15. hopefully you're sitting with your state leaders and can coordinate how you proceed from here to the hotel. and check the bulletin board, outside registration, all of the meetings we know about are organized and posted on that bulletin board by state, okay? we do not have transportation back from capitol hill. that was logistically difficult given security concerns on capitol hill, take metro back or organized cabs. 10:15, if your buses a are all gone, organized group, three or four, it is fairly inexpensive to get from here from the hoe the hotel. rayburn and longworth and cafeterias and cafeteria on the senate side to help you. we have debriefings we follow up and wear urban dan thats.
we need visibility on capitol hill. have a great day. [applause] >> just a reminder, you can see this morning's comments again on c-span.org. we're covering a bit more from this annual gathering of national liance on mental health illness, you will see that later on the program schedule on the c-span networks. more live program coming your way on the c-span networks. on c-span2, in half an hour we'll be back at the national press club for discussion on vaccine use. they look at measles, whooping cough and other infectious disease making comebacks. that is coming up at nine 30 eastern. back at the press club later ralph nader and grover norquist
about issues both the left and right can agree on. that is 1:30 eastern on companion network c-span. we're live at the mccain institute at international institute. among speakers, former cia acting director mike mower relat 5 :45 eastern on c-span. c-span2 providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and public policy events and every weekend booktv for 15 years the only television program devoted to non-fiction books and authors. c-span created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable provider. watch us on hd, follow us on facebook and tweeter. next, new york's police commissioner explains why the crime rate has dropped dramatically in his city. former congresswoman gabby giffords discusses gun violence. part of the annual new york
ideas festival. hosted by atlantic and aspen institute. we'll show you as much as we can until the program on the press club on vaccinations gets underway at 9:30 a.m. eastern. . . >> for those of you who are watching out in the lobby, these next sessions will be great. the man who's keeping us safe in town, bill bratton, and