Yes, it HAS been a while.
Just over a year ago I took on a new job... actually a new carreer, and to be honest with you, it ate my lunch. I did fine at work... during the day... at my job. But when I came home at night I did not have two brain cells to rub together.
But... I did have a dear daugther with a rare and devastating condition (let's talk about that later, shall we?) A college kid... other issues... and a husband with a commuter job.
Advocacy took a back seat.
In fact Advocacy sat in the 'way back' and I just threw graham crackers at it when it sounded hungry and hoped for the best.
It seemed like it had to be that way. I needed to survive these changes.
But what the heck has been going on while I was away?? We have been SLAMMED!!! I am not pleased.
As one of my favorite characters (in the only movies I ever really watch... sigh...) says "Prepare to meet Mrs ANGRY EYES!!
Do NOT ever tell me again that fictional stories popularized by the media don't have anything to do with the treatment of people with disabilities--especially cognitive disabilities--ever again.
Read this article... go ahead. I will be here when you get back!
This article says that a judge in Texas cited Of Mice and Men (a story by John Steinbeck) as justification for executing a man in Texas with a low IQ for a crime in which he played role.
On the basis of fiction.
Was he the mastermind of this crime? Um, no...
Were the supports in place to help him interpret his circumstances and make appropriate life choices on a day-to-day basis?
Marvin Wilson could not possibly understand the ramifications of what happened.
AND the supports to make him successful were clearly NOT in place,
Despite this, the people who should have been helping him are alive and he is dead.
(And some will tell you execution is actually MORE expensive than a life sentence, but I digress...maybe only for people who have someone to appeal???)
So... Fiction matters. Tropic Thunder matters. The "R-word" matters.
In fact they could be a matter of life and death.
I am right. Just accept it.
People, better educated and with more power than you or I will ever have, are LISTENING to fictions. Are INFLUENCED by them. Are making life decisions for all of us based on them.
Steinbeck's own son put out a statement saying he was appalled that his father's story was being used to justify the killing people with disabilities.
Frankly, I hated Of Mice and Men in high school.
Because it was effective.
And horrifying. Great writing, horrible meaning.
But Sr. Margaret Mary said that the point was NOT that people with intellectual disabilities are dangerous, but that there are situations that could make you question your accepted mores... and she was NEVER wrong. Really.
Yet, if it had come out during my daughter's lifetime I would have been first in line at any protest. I would have seen it as dangerous and would have taken my lumps for saying so.
And people without subtlety always end up with power.
And yet I was not part of this discussion. I was distracted.
Forgive us Lord, for our treatment of Marvin Wilson.
Forgive me for not doing my job to ensure Your mercy and justice are heard.
I am sorry. Amen.
Syracuse Years Coming to an End
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