“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where we are today...not a good place

I received this notice the other day about groups on facebook...
Currently there are over 1000 groups on Facebook whose goal is to mock and demean people with special needs and disabilities.

So I joined the group that is against this practice, but am saddened by what this represents.

Think about this in light of the recent Henry's turkey service incident where men with intellectual disabilities were living in deplorable conditions earning next to nothing in wages. I wonder if the press realizes how common this situation is across the United States. That is, people earning next to nothing and living in substandard places. It was sad that one article related that the bunkhouse where the men were living was so infested with various vermin that it was doubtful that any of their posessions could even be retrieved for them. So sad.

I have personally seen the controlled lives that persons with intellectual disabilities live even in the best of group home settings. I can only imagine how their lives are in bad places.

Then we have also heard this week about the "fight club" at the residence for adults with intellectual disabilities. If you go to this google search page, the story is listed under the heading, "Stuff paintballers might not hate" which is also disturbing. This story is about how staff at a residence were getting the adults to fight one another, apparently for the staff's enjoyment. I suspect the videos of this horrible practice will be surfacing soon, and people with laugh and enjoy them.

One encouraging note, however. When I am able, I like to listen to Dennis Miller on the radio. The other night, a caller made some comment to the effect that a particular politician was a "r****d", a disparaging term used for people with intellectual disabilities. To his credit, Mr. Miller stated something to the effect, "I have friends with mental challenges and they don't like that people use that term like that, so I would request that you wouldn't." To which the next caller used the same terminology probably to Miller's consternation.

We live in difficult times in many ways. We are rabid to kill disabled people before birth. We are moving towards a health rationing system which will potentially cause them to be denied services because they won't score well on a quality of life formula, or because their prospects (their utility to society) will be deemed less than desirable. In the background, those entrusted with their care treat them as slaves or pit bulls in a dog fight, while the politicians lie bold faced to us about their caring.




MamaPoRuski said...

As an RN who has dedicated her life to elderly and disabled adults in the community I must say that there are some places that exist but the majority are good places. As a county commissioner on disabiliities our city's main concern is retro-fitting old buildings and enough parking spaces. As an advocate for special needs adoption around the world-I am more haunted by the world around us than our backyard. We are not perfect but have come a long way! I would like to see the Church of America expand the "loving thy neighbor" to children institutionalized,denied education and tied to their beds, simply for being disabled in one way or another.

Mary said...

My sister just discovered your sight and passed it along to me because I have an almost 8 year old son with Down syndrome.
You hit the nail on the head with this post. Really...
Thank you for doing what you are doing and keep at it!
I am an advocate for my son and am teaching him and my daughters to be advocates as well.
This world needs more people like you and Dennis Miller.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It is a sad day in our world, when our source of entertainment comes from poking fun at people that are different than us. Wasn’t that one of the things that attracted other denominations and nationalities to our country, was that we were accepting of others… How is it possible that we can welcome others into our country and yet demean those that are born here? We are not living as worldly Christians when we degrade someone for something that they cannot control.
I believe that we are tested every day, of being accepting of others. It can happen on the phone, at the grocery store or even on a college campus. We are put into situations that make us think about how we are to react to a situation. It is no different to be patient with a person that is learning the English language, than it is with someone that has a learning disability. They both need our understanding and patience, and in time they will both be able to respond to what we say. So why is it so difficult for our society to accept someone with a learning disability? What happened to loving thy neighbor? Our society needs to remember these people, because they deserve as much respect as the next person.

Anonymous said...

Dr. McNair,
This entire post is saddening and enlightening but my favorite part of it is the closing admonishment pay attention to what is happening around me. I believe that in our culture and generation it is all too easy to become consumed with self. It is socially acceptable in most circles to not concern ourselves with the happenings in the lives of people around us. I believe that is how these horrific events have been allowed to take place. Being a part of such a blessed group of people with resources, opportunity for higher education, and my health in every way it is necessary that I become an advocate for people who do not have these advantages. I understand that we all have a sin nature but what happens in the mind of someone who degrades another person so badly as these "caretakers" (and I use that term more loosely than I have ever used another term)have? How does this happen? I am surprised to read that Miller spoke out against the use of that word on his show. I wish that more people who feel that way about the word would speak out against it in their circles. Perhaps then it would become a little less fashionable over time. The last paragraph of this post is the most chilling to me because it speaks the truth about not only the present state of our society but the likely future of it as well. It terrifies me to hear about the fact that people can genetically modify their babies and if the baby is not up to standard regarding health or development the parents can chose to have the tiny human being murdered. As people who desire to be advocates for those in need (whether they are disabled people, elderly people, unborn people, etc.) we need to be well educated, creative, persistent, and sometimes we need to be loud. Thank you for your blog and your class.

Anonymous said...

This post saddened and disheartened me that there are people in this world that would be filled with such malice and hate for the intellectual disabled. Our world needs more people like you and me who love those who are disabled. I tell my friends and family not to use the "R" word because its degrading to people in this world that have handicaps. I am glad to hear that Mr. Miller stood up for that fact. May people in this world expel those slandering words from their vocabulary.