Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Republicans Emotional Use of Disability

In the last presidential election when Sarah Palin used her son Trig to establish herself as an expert on disability rights I was appalled. Over the last two months a few people have sent me emails about Rick Santorum, a deeply religious right wing Republican. Why, people have asked, am I not blasting him? He is after all following Palin's disability handbook. That is Santorum is using his daughter who has Trisomy 18 as a emotional prop to appeal to right to lifers, those opposed to health care reform, and so called traditional values Republicans love to talk about. I simply do not take Santorum seriously but when someone sent me the link to the ad on You Tube above I had to write something. Watch this long political ad without either getting angry or sick and you have a stronger stomach than I do.

Based on the reviews posted on You Tube this ad is exceptionally successful. People love it! Sadly this does not surprise me one bit. Emotional arguments devoid of any factual basis about disability always touch the hearts of people who know nothing about disability. And the skeptic in me would estimate that means 90% of the country will fall for the rhetoric in the political ad. This makes me crazy as a quick google search, "disability rights" will reveal a wealth of information. This information will undermine the emotional response the Santorum ad was designed to prompt. Facts people. Facts and politics. Here is a fact Santorum does not want you to think about nor do any other republicans--disability is a valid political issue. Disability has a central place when it comes to health reform, aging baby boomers, and laws such as the ADA that was gutted by conservative justices put in place by former President Bush.

Forget the sentiment, ignore the tear jerking. Lines such as "Some people describe people like Bella as ‘disabled children, I look at her and I look at the joy, the simplicity, the love she emits, and it’s clear to that we are the disabled ones, not her.” People with a disability do not need pretty words and sentiment. People with a disability need equal rights. People with a disability need equal access to education. We need politicians to support IDEA so children like Santorum's daughter will get a good education. But Santorum plans on cutting spending on education. Do I really need to tell readers exactly who will be hurt the most? Santorum is also against the Affordable Care Act. He even goes as far as to suggest people with a disability will suffer and die if it is enacted. He conveniently leaves out the fact the vast majority of disability rights groups support the ACA. The fact is health care reform will help people with disabilities. Perhaps as a Senator he is unaware that access to insurance for people with a disability is difficult at best and financial ruin common. And lest readers think I am simply spewing out anti Republican rhetoric, I am not. I have no problem with conservative politicians. I do however have a huge issue with the way conservative Republicans skew facts and question their ethics since 9/11. We thus have people like Michelle Bachman who thinks water boarding led to the discovery of real facts. So what if it did? The American government is not supposed to sanction much less torture any human being. We are not supposed to detain people without cause or legal representation but we do. We are supposed to be allowed to dissent and have freedom of speech. But when that dissent becomes inconvenient we send in the police. Here I am referring to Mayor Bloomberg who sanctioned the police raid on Occupy Wall Street. That raid took place at 1AM, the media was barred from the area, the park was declared a no fly zone and no one really knows what the police did evicting protesters. Does this sound like democracy? Not to me as I find dissent our patriotic duty.

Let me reiterate. The above is not a rant specifically against the Republican Party or Santorum. He is just the latest conservative politician to use his child with a disability as a political prop. Some of these thoughts were prompted by Steven Kuusisto with whom I will end this post. He wrote: "The more I think about the GOP the more I wonder if ever again the best in our nature will clarify for truly decent conservative people. I happen to know many such folks. That well meaning principles have been sacrificed at the alter of theocratic extremism is terrible news for our republic. This is still a nation of good people. We deserve a good Republican party. Plenty will say I'm sniffing airplane glue." I don't think Kuusisto is sniffing glue. I am surrounded by such conservatives where I live in the wealthy suburbs of New York City. Good people largely even if I do not like their politics.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Four Walls Creeping In

It has been two weeks since I found the blister on my hip caused in large part to the Halloween storm and no electricity for almost a week. I was at wound care today. The wound is better, not much but better. I am still stuck in bed and will be for a while. This is very hard. I am overwhelmingly sad. I am coming to terms with the fact I will most likely not be healed until Christmas. Even then my skin will not be up to withstand the rigors of skiing. I had dreamed of skiing out West this winter. Looks like that is a pipe dream now. And in my grim mood I wonder if I will ever ski again. I wonder if I will ever resume a normal life. It is hard to make plans knowing one small mistake can leave me bed bound for months. At least I can function. I am not in a nursing home. I do not need my family to stay in my house and care for me. But life seems very restricted. Yes, the four walls of my bedroom are closing in and I am not happy.