Recently, I wrote about my need to get political here. I mentioned that I am not shy about politics on my own personal Facebook feed, and that while courteous discourse is always well received, I tend to “unfollow” friends who post obnoxious, hate-filled memes and stories with less-than-credible sources.
This election, and one candidate in particular gets my blood boiling, for many, many reasons, the most important of which is that he mocked a disabled person on national TV.
How you treat others is very telling of your inner dialogue, your conscience, your humanity (or lack thereof). When “the others” you are dealing with are children, animals, and people with disabilities, it is very telling, indeed.
So when an aunt of mine (who I have already “unfollowed” long ago) decided to send me messages with stories about this particular candidate to apparently show me how he wasn’t really racist, I responded. I told her that, with all due respect, she and I would never agree politically, and that this candidate is a dangerous, selfish, narcissistic xenophobe with a long history of making racist and sexist comments. I told her that if she chose not to see that, it was her choice, but out of respect for her great-nephew with autism, a disorder that this candidate erroneously and dangerously attributes to vaccines, I ask that she not send me these messages.
Her response was the same response you often get when challenging someone who uses the r-word: “I only asked a question – no need to explode over this.”
Those of us who live with a special needs child do not have the luxury to be lax with our opinions. I’m pretty sure I won’t live forever, which means that my son’s future is in the hands of others. And if those others think for one second that it’s not a big deal when someone openly mocks a disabled person or espouses junk science, someone who could have a very direct affect on my son’s future through messing with medicaid coverage or social security disability, or education funding, or mental healthcare, or caregivers wages… It’s my job to help you understand that it is a VERY. BIG. DEAL.
And that fact that I haven’t “exploded” on you already is a testament to my patience and mental fortitude. Check your privilege. I don’t have any more time for your nonsense.
you are so right. if and when i ever have to deal with any of this, i may steal some of your words.
It’s funny how people interpret a written statement. I didn’t use any all caps, or foul language, but it was interpreted as “exploding”. Nothing but facts there, though.
Wow, wonderfully written – “do not have the luxury to be lax with our opinions”. You put that better than I could. I try to be fairly open minded with most of my stances, willing to hear differing opinions. But, when it comes to my medically complex child – I will always be his staunch defender. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m bookmarking this wonderful post, since unfortunately I know I’ll need it.
I’m glad you can use it, but also sad that it may be necessary.
A divide exists between how those affected with disability or illness see language and how the default, the general population that never have to think of these things, see language. Their way is the default way, how it is. Except is isn’t. And as much as I wish that I could know what it would be like to be in that default, cerebral palsy and nonverbal learning disability, along with being a sensitive person, and the experiences derived from those, cause me to be in the affected category. Sending love
So eloquently written, but more importantly, in a world where too many adults do not prioritize their children, your clear vision for your son is so wonderful. I know older relatives often believe they are “helping,” and some times have out-dated, less-educated viewpoints/actions, which do the exact opposite. Not to excuse her in any such way; I like that you don’t let her fall back on an excuse, but prefer to attempt to educate her. Well done.