Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Advice for Pandering Politicians

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2008

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.

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  • Well said! Great post

    By Blogger David, at 5:17 PM  

  • Thank you abfh. I couldn't agree more.

    By Blogger dyslexic angeleno, at 6:01 PM  

  • Amen!!

    By Blogger Attila the Mom, at 10:27 PM  

  • agreed. after this november 5th you can probably put Hilldawg in the curebie graveyard..........or McCain.......or both of them if Obama wins......which I hope he does.

    Encourage people to go to www.barackobama.com, get a page there, and call people in Indiana and North Carolina.

    I might do just that..........I hate calling strangers.....I'm terrified of it. However..........for Obama, I'd do almost anything.........

    Athena of athenivanidx

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:25 PM  

  • athenivanidx,

    the trouble is, this post *is* about Obama - see here

    Being in my late thirties I should know better by now, but I am really dissapointed in yet another politician...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:28 PM  

  • Tara and Athena: I am also very disappointed in Obama, but the post is not only about him; it's more generally about ignorant panderers, which is a category that includes McCain and many other politicians.

    On the other hand, Hillary Clinton appears to be a true hater, and I wrote a blog entry to put her in the Curebie Graveyard two months ago. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to post it yet because she just won't admit that she's dead. It's like watching a zombie movie or something.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:24 PM  

  • Thanks for contributing to Blogging Against Disablism Day, ABFH!

    If I may, I would like to add that those of us who are incapable of work and do need others to take care of us are not to be understood as a burden either. Unless mere economics are the be all and end all, in which case we're all doomed.

    A great post. :-)

    By Blogger The Goldfish, at 11:15 AM  

  • Hi Goldfish, I'm glad you stopped by!

    To clarify, I don't look upon anyone as being incapable of productive work. Whether a particular person can be self-supporting at a particular place and time is a different question, and it depends on a great many cultural, technological, and economic factors. And of course, we all need other people to take care of us in many ways, because modern humans are such an interdependent species.

    By Blogger abfh, at 12:49 PM  

  • ...so, did we find out if any of the funds benefit Autism Speaks? :-)

    By Blogger Attila the Mom, at 10:16 AM  

  • Attila, if you're referring to the funds mentioned in Genevieve's comment, no, they are not going to Autism Speaks. Genevieve wrote that she won't contribute to any organization if someone in her group of bloggers has strong feelings against it.

    I recommended The Autism Acceptance Project.

    By Blogger abfh, at 11:02 AM  

  • Agreed, there is still the distinction between Hillary (of "curing *everything* on autistic spectrum" fame), McCain (of "there is strong evidence vaccines cause autism" fame)and Obama. At this point he may not be ignorant panderer but more of, how should I put it, pragmatic panderer... Still, I held him to higher standard of not being panderer at all :-P

    So, question for you all: if none of candidates fit your bill on what you perceive to be very important issue in your life, what do you plan to do come November? Vote for the least objectionable one? Vote for some unknown candidate whose position on the issue you don't even know? Do not vote at all?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:00 PM  

  • I plan to consider other issues when I vote, such as the pointless war in Iraq and four-dollar-a-gallon gas...

    By Blogger abfh, at 7:09 PM  

  • Aren't you going to consider the pointless war against babies that poisons them with thimerosal before they're even born?

    If they know they can cause autism by shooting mercury into pregnant women, they'll soon be able to tag those babies as autistic and kill them before they're born. That would be counter to your anti-eugenics stance, wouldn't it?

    By Blogger John Best, at 11:46 PM  

  • Great post lately ABFH. Last one and this one too.

    I got a phone call from Hillary Clinton yesterday. It was a recording. I thought about the irony of someone who hasn't shown an interest in listening to autistic people, asking for my vote with a recording of her voice that didn't allow an autistic person (me) to have any input in the converstion....so she wants me to vote for her because she is interested in serving the public (the public she doesn't consider me a part of) based on my condidence in her to govern a nation that I get to live in....and yet she has shown support for groups that admit to an agenda that may (in one way or another) eradicate everyone in this country like me....and maybe me too?

    My confidence was not inspired.

    By Blogger Ed, at 9:28 AM  

  • Alright. Obama did and said something very, very stupid in this case.

    And unfortunately it has to do with autism.....which goes to show that very few people other than autistic people really know about it.........and that there is no link between autism and vaccines.

    What exactly did he say?

    I can't remember...........

    Thing about Obama is though, I feel like if we tell him he's dead wrong and explain why, he'll be the one most likely to take us seriously out of all three candidates.

    Who knows, maybe there's a method to his madness?

    The majority of people he's struggling to woo......get some of the worst "information" about autism..........

    abfh: why should Hilldawg's refusal to die prevent you from putting her in the curebie graveyard? She's just making a spectacle of herself........claiming this and that with the white vote........

    Athena of athenivanidx

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:13 AM  

  • Hillary is out of money, so her campaign can't possibly last much longer. She has already spent all of her donors' contributions, all of her own money, she owes her vendors about $10 million, and she is now spending large amounts of Bill's savings just to keep her creditors from pulling the plug.

    Look for a Curebie Graveyard entry to appear in the very near future. :)

    By Blogger abfh, at 10:45 AM  

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