Community?

I was made fun of on one of my favorite autism FaceBook pages last night. By a commenter, and the page owner, an autism mom herself. All for stating I didn’t support a man who made fun of the disabled.

When you normalize a man who belittles and berates anyone who disagrees with him, I guess this behavior is to be expected.

What’s sad is that the autism community has not rallied together in defense of the strides we’ve made in healthcare and education. It seems we are even more divided than before, to the point that I’m not sure a community still exists.

I try to remain hopeful for the future. I try to tell myself that this too shall pass.

The question is, what will remain when it does?

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I Had to Block My Aunt

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.

Savage-ry

I started this blog just about four years ago, and in that time, I have avoided politics as a rule. This is amazing for me. If you were a friend of mine on Facebook, you would have a crystal clear picture of where I stand on most issues. I’m in the political minority where I live, and it’s uncomfortable. Others like me speak softly in restaurants, and are resigned to the fact that if you dare put up a yard sign or a bumper sticker on your car, it will be ripped off at the very least. My husband and I aren’t as afraid, and will stay what needs to be said, and loudly.

But here, I try to ignore the political divide as much as possible, because if you read this blog, you care about your kids, and at the end of the day, that’s what is most important.

Now, when the country is as divided as it has ever been, I need to speak my peace for the very kids we all care about. Never has the country put forth a candidate that is downright dangerous for minority populations, especially dangerous to the special needs community.

It is common knowledge by now that Donald Trump openly mocked a disabled reporter. He claims not to have done so, but the Pulitzer Prize winning site, PolitiFact has deemed that he did, indeed, mock New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski. And if you watched the video with your own eyeballs, you probably came to the same conclusion.

But he has mocked just about everyone from Mexicans, to POWs, to women. Many, many women. That, in and of itself, is not dangerous. His views on autism are dangerous (he believes that vaccines cause autism, a theory that has been debunked multiple times). And the people he would look to for advice on national health policy are dangerous. In an interview with incendiary radio talk show host, Michael Savage, Trump said that he thought that putting Mr. Savage in charge of the National Institute of Health would instill “a lot of common sense” into that institution.

If you aren’t familiar with Mr. Savage’s “work,” you should be (the following is directly quoted from this article):

  • On Autism: “A Fraud, A Racket … In 99 Percent Of The Cases, It’s A Brat Who Hasn’t Been Told To Cut The Act Out.” Savage claimed in 2008 that autism is “a fraud, a racket. … I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.'”  [Media Matters7/17/08; ABC News, 7/21/08]
  • On PTSD And Depression Sufferers: “Weak,” “Narcissistic,” “Losers.” Savage pushed junk science by accusing those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, including military veterans, of being “weak,” “narcissistic,” “losers.” Savage added that “we’re being laughed at around the world. No wonder ISIS can defeat our military.” [Media Matters10/21/1410/26/14]
  • On Liberals Like Sen. Bernie Sanders Who Have Been Driven To “Insanity” Because Of Seltzer: Savage theorized that he thinks seltzer and “the little bubbles of carbon dioxide” have poisoned liberals’ brains. He added, “If I had the time, I’d go back to my scientific background and I would do an epidemiological study of the use of seltzer and liberalism and the insanity of liberalism.” [Right Wing Watch, 9/16/15]

If you need more reasons to be afraid of this man becoming an adviser to anyone, read this.

I already fear the unknown future for my son. I don’t need additional reasons to worry about him being considered only a “brat” who need to “straighten up” by his own government, the people who are supposed to help him and protect him.

If you know or love anyone on the spectrum, folks, this is really a no-brainer. We can’t let this happen. Share with those you love who may actually still be considering their choice.