On “Victims”

September 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

By now, everyone and their brother has weighed in on Romney’s remarks at a private, closed door fund raiser last May, stating that 47 percent of Americans see themselves as victims.

What about persons with disabilities as part of that whole?

Are we, as Ayn Rand so gently put it “mindless eaters?”

And what about the subset of persons with disabilities who have never been able to

work-for-money?

First the setup between the PWD’s who worked-for-money and now can’t and the ones who were always unable to do so is a false one.  I put it out here so I could knock it down.

…many many folks who cannot work for money  are advocates for others.  Kids with disabilities facing the adult world need mentors.  Adults newly thrust into the tribe of the disabled need some shock absorbers.  And what about the System?  I’m not speaking of “should it be there or not,” I’m speaking of, “It exists, so and so needs it, but hasn’t a clue how to start the process.”

Eight years back I hadn’t the slightest clue.  I’ve since helped three people who needed to know how to apply get in.  These were people who genuinely needed housing or Medicaid long term care or food stamps.  I’m trying to help a fourth.  (Sometimes people take your advice and sometimes they don’t…)

I’ve been mentored as well, often by other PWD’s I’ve never seen, often by PWD’s whov’ve never held down a conventional job.

If we get help, from amongst ourselves, from allies, from the “safety net…”    We save  the government money. We have fewer physical and mental issues, and most important of all we’re likely to be around to help someone else feeling overwhelmed that needs it.

(on the flip side, many able bodied people who work for money spend a hell of a lot of their workshift doing things they shouldn’t do, and getting paid obscenely for playing computer games, reading a novel, chatting with friends or balancing their checkbook. Been there, seen that myself, so no I’m not making this up.  Evidently they feel ‘entitled’ to do so.)

Unfortunately there was always one bad apple at the office doing this crap and pissing me off, because even when I was able to work, my impairments made it difficult enough that I had to  work the entirety of my shift to keep up.  On the day shift, no inane water cooler chat for me.  No sir.

(Yes, on one of my many jobs, overnights in a call center *were* slow and a bit lazy, but only because the number of calls incoming was quite small.  Even if we had written work to keep us busy, there was often downtime.)

Then there’s the intangible stuff that our friends and family and allies got angry about when Mr. Romney said what he said:  Over and over parents friends co workers said of persons with disabilities that were their associates that merely by being here, we enhance the lives of everyone around us.

Now.  Are some people with disabilities a pain to be around?  If you knew me or my ex boyfriend you’d say emphatically yes. Like any other group of people.  But many  bring to the table humor, intelligence, kindness, happiness…some of the time like any other group of people.  And those in our circle would be worse off without the positives we bring.

And here’s a touchy one.  Is there abuse or fraud in the safety net?  Yes.  What do you do about it?   Make sure it’s really abuse and not a misperception…Report it, work against it, fix it.  Not the goals of one side of the debate…gut it.

“The inherent worth and dignity of every human person.”  That statement isn’t just about one’s views on abortion or contraception.  It’s about all of us, from beginning to end.

(I’ll be quite interested to see how the vice presidential debate goes if that definition comes up.)

And lastly Mr. Romney, l:

, stop with the shaming of anyone on benefits.  Ever since you said that thing, I’ve felt a lot of shame.  Unnecessary, incorrect shame.  Intellectually I  know that I’ve done what I can do, and continue to try to make a difference.

But as many other longterm PWD’s have, I’ve been called a lot of names since I was a child.  I should have enough armor now that they never hurt.  They don’t always, but this one got to me.

That, and a healthy batch of irritation at the thought that I believe if Mr. Romney had had to walk my life path instead of the one he walked he might well have cracked under it and have taken up quiet basketweaving by now.

What right has he to tell me that because of my impairments, I draw Social Security and that means…I see myself as a  victim?

Mr. Romney if you end up in the White House, get some education on real life please.

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