These are some tender times my friends. If I read stuff off the internet, I should be indignant over the fact that Robin Wright had to fight for her millions of dollars of pay to equal that of her House of Cards costar Kevin Spacey. I’m not calling her out, because she’s completely right — she should make at least the same as Spacey. My problem is, as usual, here’s an example of someone being treated unfairly and the rest of the universe recognizing it. Meanwhile, there are nearly 50 million people in the U.S. living with a disability and they often get denigrated for their portion of social security benefits. Supposedly we need watchdogs to focus on how all these disabled people beat the system.
It’s like when I used to get food from my local food pantry years ago. I worked two jobs, I had three kids — one with a certifiable disability — but the people at the food pantry had to be sure that I was okayed to get those cans of Spam. I regularly heard stories about millionaires who unfairly collected cans of tuna and lima beans just because they could, leading those in charge to question everyone else.
I’m not an idiot. I realize there are people in this world who may not exactly fit the “disabled” category who are getting a government handout. I’m sure there are many. But, I’m equally as sure of the other millions who were born with cerebral palsy, autism, missing limbs, missing their intellect, missing parts so that they can’t ever be considered a “whole” person by those who judge such things. All of the parents and caregivers of this group have to battle government agencies every day and “prove” that the person they are supporting really really deserves a whopping $800 a month to live on. That they really need the services provided by the state where they live.
In my lifetime I’ve watched marginalized groups make headlines. I’ve written those headlines. I’ve marched in protests and I’ve stood behind my beliefs. What I haven’t done is to push a wheelchair or march with my own autistic son in a big protest about how people with disabilities are treated. You want to know why? Because that protest doesn’t happen. It’s because those of us who work with and love people with disabilities — we’re good people — we don’t want to antagonize everyone, we don’t want to fight people. We want to care for the person we love, and this leaves a lot less time to protest.
Every single day I look at the internet and read headlines about how we should all recognize people who are marginalized. Not once are they talking about people with disabilities. Not once. Where the hell is everybody? I’m totally ready to pull the wagons together on this. Apparently, some shit needs to hit the fan.