Posts Tagged ‘disabilities’
Prenatal testing encourages abortions? I don’t know, Rick Santorum, I think you’re a bit off the mark on this one. I think, first and foremost, it gives parents-to-be the opportunity to know what they are up against when their baby comes if he or she does have a disability. It gives them the opportunity to plan financially and prepare themselves emotionally for all that is going to be required of them to give the baby the best life they can provide.
And second, I think that by saying prenatal testing encourages abortions, Santorum is showing us his true feelings toward people with disabilities. I believe him when he says he is 100% anti-abortion. But to suggest that when a parent finds out their child will be disabled that they should for some reason want to terminate the pregnancy, well, that tells me something about Santorum’s mindset, to tell you the truth.
Liberals who consider themselves “pro-choice” are not “anti-life”. They are not going around looking for a reason to have an abortion. That seems to be what Santorum is trying to suggest here. But it doesn’t add up.
Below I will leave a link to a story about a great effort of the Rotary International and the Gates Foundation to finally make polio a thing of the past. Yes polio has been, for the most part, a non-issue in U.S. for decades, but there are still people here living with its disabling after-effects, and there are still just four countries where it is still newly afflicting people, thankfully now in minimal numbers.
Before you write this off as another lost cause, Here is a chance to read a story with stats on specifically how much progress is being made. This is impressive when you compare it to, for example, the standstill we seem to be at with AIDS in Africa.
If the link expires, please contact a nearby Rotary or the (Bill) Gates Foundation for further information.
If you are like me and you have a disability, you likely feel empathetic toward anyone who has a disability which is more difficult to bear than your own. Whether you have a disability, know someone who does, or are just randomly coming across this story, I urge you to read the story and pitch in to the effort and tell a friend.
The only way we can get rid of terrible things like polio is by showing love, and choosing to help those who are afflicted, whom we don’t know, have never met, and probably never will.
Why It Takes More Than A Disabled War Veteran and the Mother of a Child With a Disability To Win My Vote
I have encountered fellow citizens of the U.S. who were shocked that I would not be voting for John McCain/Sarah Palin in this year’s election. Astounded, really.
“Don’t you think Sarah Palin, as a mother of a disabled kid, and John McCain, as a disabled War Veteran, would do everything they can for disabled people?”
I have endless respect for McCain’s sacrifice in War, and I know from listening to my mother talk about raising me what Palin must go through to get her child what he needs to live the life she wants for him. So this is a valid question. Sure Palin is the mother of a child with Down Syndrome. But I don’t know what she would do as a leader. I mean if my own mother were in the White House, I have a good idea of the laws that she would want changed and I would trust her judgement. But I don’t know enough about Palin to know if I trust the things that she would have pushed for as VP. And nobody can know what’s best for all the different kinds of disabled people. So you have to vote for the overall best choice you have available. And I believe I did.
And besides that, any change that was made on behalf of disabled people would have to be voted on by the law-making bodies of our government, not just installed by Palin OR McCain. I know that is how it works under Bush/Cheney but we are back to reality now. In that respect I know that disabled people are just as well off under Obama as we would have been with Palin or McCain.
I told the person that asked me this that sometimes it is better if people that have a little distance from the issue make the decision. And what I meant was that if we want this to be a fair and balanced country, the laws and “changes” need to be made by people without self-interest in the issues.
And speaking of self-interest, despite an earlier posting in which I noted that Obama was the only candidate that mentioned disabled people on his Web site, I know that there are issues that are infinitely more important to this country than whether I get accessibility to certain buildings, etc. Such as the issue of whether I get to keep getting my health care for free while others don’t have health care at all. Such as whether my president is going to stop or continue isolating us from the rest of the world. Whether he is going to take the time to read the CIA reports about potential attacks. Whether my president is going to make education a priority for everyone. Whether he is going to tax the people who have the money to spare (the facts don’t lie, if you actually paid attention to what McCain and Obama were saying). The list goes on and on.
The point is that I am a citizen of this country and I care about the things that everyone else does. So it took more than two people with direct connections with disabilities to get my vote. That is why I voted for Obama.
I am not a fan of Sarah Palin’s political views overall, but ever since her introduction as McCain’s running mate at the RNC, she has been taking a lot of crap because she had her baby son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, at the convention. Because of this, I can no longer remain silent on the issue. A few things are being said in the media about her little guy’s appearance on the National Stage that are really getting me steamed.
1. That having him at the convention was a political stunt to demonstrate how “pro-life” she is. Just because 80% of women who find out their unborn baby has Down Syndrome have an abortion according to this story does not mean that keeping your baby makes you any more of a saint than anyone else. After all, it is your baby we are talking about, not an everyday inconvenience that one chooses how to dispose of. I think Palin had her baby at the convention because he is a part of her family and she was introducing herself, and her family, to the country. Case closed.
2. By making the above into such a big time news story, the media made it seem as though not having an abortion in a similar situation would be noteworthy, somehow. Following through with a pregnancy which you know will result in a child with a disability is not a pro-life thing, it’s not a Christian thing, it’s not a Republican or Conservative thing. It is about love, and we all have that in us somewhere. Even us God damned baby killer pagan liberal Democrats!
3. One doctor went so far as to express concern that Palin’s example will lead other expectant mothers NOT to abort when the expected child is found to have a disability! What the Hell? Look, I have spina bifida, I know what a handful my disability was as a child, but there is always HELP one can gain through doctors (if they know what they are talking about), family members, the community, etcetera. And this is not even an issue of taking away people’s CHOICE. It is an issue of giving a baby with a disadvantage a CHANCE.
This doctor is worried that the mothers of fetuses with Down Syndrome will not be prepared to take care of the child. Well, I doubt very much that my own mother grew up training all her life to have a baby with spina bifida. Mothers who have children with disabilities find ways to cope with the circumstances they are given, and they do so out of love, the greatest power in the world. The greatest human quality. And Sarah Palin is a human being.
All of the negative attitudes toward Palin having this baby will reinforce the misconception that having a child with a disability is beyond the average human being. It encourages abortion of “imperfect” children. I am not going to get into the pro-life/choice argument because it’s a dead end as far as I can see. I am just using my own life experience here. I am pro-chance, my friends. Making her out to be either a saint or simply irresponsible will only serve the point of view that the chance to life should not be given so freely.
And quite frankly these attitudes have me really concerned coming from fellow liberals. Do they realize they are reinforcing every stereotype that conservatives have toward them and hold to be so repugnant? No wonder Barack Obama is losing so many supporters, even though he has absolutely nothing to do with this.
Today as I rolled down the street, at a street corner, a man who was not in a chair was telling me that it would be funny for me to sit on a street corner and when the light was green and cars were passing by, to act as though I were going to cross, and then pull back and give them a “just kidding” look. A fun little prank to play on the walkies (my affectionate name for those less disabled than I am).
Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be the cause of a 50 car pile-up.
In a posting with a similar title about Earth Day, I wrote about how I used my disability to get people thinking. Sure, I used my disability, but only for good, not for pure unadulterated evil.
I am sure this man was joking, but honestly, some people don’t know quite how to communicate with the disabled as though we were, oh I don’t know, equals. The conversation I had today was right up there with the people who don’t understand why, when stuck in a crowd, I don’t just start running people’s feet over to get through. No, this was worse.
Today, April 20, 2008, marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Henry Chadwick, sportswriter, statistician, and often called “The Father of Baseball”.
Chadwick did not invent baseball, and he was not known to have played the game. But he was one of the first sports journalists to focus on baseball. And it was his early reporting of games in the New York area between newly formed teams that quickly turned this playground game into a game for men which would soon be referred to as “The National Game” or “National Pastime.” Chadwick popularized the collection of baseball statistics as we know it today, and he was strongly against the spread of the myth of baseball’s beginnings, the claim that Abner Doubleday invented the game in 1839 in a field in Cooperstown, NY. Chadwick knew that the game had a longer, richer history than that.
Now, why is this important to me? What does this have to do with the general theme of treadmarkz.wordpress.com? Good question.
First because early in life I became enchanted with the game of baseball, a “baseball history and statistics wizard” as my mom has often called me. It made me feel a part of something magical. Being born with spina bifida, and unable to fully take part in baseball, reading about it gave me something to look up to. Just to know about its history, and its players, men who, to me were close to supernatural, made me feel a part of something bigger.
Then there was that moment when I was in 9th grade, but I was at home, out of school for months, in a body cast after a back surgery. There was that one flash of inspiration while I lay there completely out of commission, not doing anything.
What do I want to do with my life? I want to be a journalist!
And what do I want to write about? I want to write about baseball!
That was all I wanted from the time I was 15 until I was about 25. I lived out that dream and I tried to write about it in a way that would fill another generation with wonder over the simple game.
Anyone who has ever written about baseball or has cherished the history of the “grand olde game” is in debt to Henry Chadwick.
Sorry to burst the bubble, people, but “People With Disabilities” is the same as saying “Disabled People”. The only difference is that it takes longer to say. And saying “PWD” doesn’t help. We are still disabled. All we did was take the long version of a phrase, and re-shorten it. And all people on the planet are disabled in some way, obvious or not.
I am disabled, and I have been on the Disaboom.com forums a lot lately, and it took me days to figure out what people meant when they said PWD. Does that just mean I am disconnected from other PWDs? True, I don’t know too many other people in wheelchairs (PIW). So, maybe.
And while I am here, it is “disabled”, not “disABLED.” Come on people. You don’t see people running around saying they are “nearSIGHTED” do you? No.
My wife and I had our taxes done today, and on the form there was a question which read “Are you or your spouse permanently and totally disabled?” I have added the italic to stress the word “and”. I am permanently disabled, barring a miracle, but I am only paralyzed from the waist down, hardly total. I don’t think anybody with any disability, barring the comatose, would consider themselves totally disabled, and even then, not necessarily permanently. For this reason, I was tempted to check “No”, especially when the tax preparer told me that it wouldn’t make any difference in my refund whether I checked it “yes” or “no”.
But I wondered, why, if it makes no difference, does this question exist? And I doubted very much that the “yes” box was exclusively for the hopelessly comatose. Well, as fate would have it, it did make a difference, in my favor, to check that “Yes” box. So to anyone who is permanently or totally disabled, be sure to set technicalities aside and check “Yes” on this question.
And to the IRS, could we take a look at the wording on that one? It can make a world of difference.
I am not sure if this video was meant to be, but is, a very clever way to illustrate exactly how many of us in wheelchairs often feel when kids run away when they see the chair coming (most don’t, most ask really good questions) or, more often, when a parents grabs their kid by the arm and yanks them away, like they think I am going to just plow right into the kid. Or they think it will cause a scene if there kid speaks to me, and by God, offends me.
I mentioned in a previous post that I don’t really feel discriminated against as a disabled man, but I’ll go on record here and say that this really can be offensive when parents do this, for two reasons. First, I am perfectly well under control of my wheelchair, and second…
Note To Parents: It’s Okay If Your Child Asks Me A Question About Being In A Wheelchair. Kids Are Curious. It’s Natural. It’s Healthy!
PS: Your Kids Are Smarter Than You Think They Are!
Here is a recent video of stand-up comedian Josh Blue. You may remember him from NBC’s Last Comic Standing a few years back. Well, he is still around, in fact this is Part 1 of 6 of a promotion he did for disaboom.com, another great online community for the disabled. Be sure to check out all six. Blue was born with Cerebral Palsy. His routine is very “slice of life” but from the unique perspective of one with Cerebral Palsy. He looks like Screech from “Saved by the Bell” but his comic delivery somehow reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld.
“If they do find a cure for this, I wouldn’t do it, because this is who I am.”
- Josh Blue