Advice for Pandering Politicians
Yeah, you know who you are. And if you want to get credit for being a good guy and supporting increased funding to help people with disabilities, you're going to have to do a hell of a lot better when it comes to explaining your message.
We may be living in a sound-bite society, but that does not justify using alarmist language and characterizing any group of people as a burden, or worse yet, as a "devastating burden." At best, such language is grossly insulting; and at worst, there's a foul stench of eugenics to it.
What's such a big deal, anyway, about the simple fact that it costs money to educate us and to provide the services and products that we need? Guess what, the same is true of your family, pal. The only difference is that society has categorized your family's educational and other needs as "normal," while arbitrarily excluding others from that privileged caste. You're no more deserving and no less expensive than anyone else—you just have the home field advantage.
Also, you're not making yourself look any better when you try to bolster your bigotry with lifetime cost statistics purporting to show that everyone who has a particular disability label is going to cost some exorbitant amount of money in lifetime care. That is just as wrong, and just as prejudiced, as claiming that every child born into a racial minority group is going to cost society huge amounts of welfare money.
This may come as a shock, but a lot of us go to work every day, just like you. Quite a few of us are living "in the closet," keeping our differences hidden in the workplace for fear of losing our jobs. Many others who have more obvious disabilities remain unemployed, not because they aren't capable of working, but because of hiring managers' prejudices. When you pay lip service to the need for more enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, while at the same time you make dehumanizing statements that suggest we're not really capable of productive work and just need someone to take care of us forever, you are definitely not helping.
And if you expect us to vote for you anyway just because you're throwing us a few crumbs—think again.