What is the deal with this crap? Why do people believe in diabetes and the treatments that have been developed for it, but not believe that there is chemistry going on in our brain and that it might (gasp of shock) get out of whack just like every other part of our body can?
I'll tell you what the deal is: it is fear and bigotry, pure and simple. To have brain cooties that need to be treated with medications, to be that crazy is the equivalent of demonic possession, which is how many people in industrialized countries seek to treat the problems. The onset, the actions, the effects of the treatments, the diagnoses, it is all so random seeming and there isn't a better explanation for far too many people.
With everything else there is a cause that is explained. You've got someone in a white lab coat who can show you a picture, a graph, a bunch of numbers, something with hard science to back it up, that explains any physical ailment. You go back to the late Middle Ages and they had names for stuff, even if they were vague names. "Flux." "Imbalance of humours." "Weak heart." There were treatments then (leeches, herbs, whatever) and there are treatments now. The treatments these days, surgical and otherwise, are also explained by the people in the lab coats in terms that make sense with pictures and models and stuff.
But when it comes to the mentally interesting it's an entirely different story. The person explaining the condition isn't wearing a lab coat. There is no graph, no picture, no bunch of numbers to explain. Diagnoses are often wrong. Sure people are misdiagnosed when it comes to things like heart conditions, but it happens way more often with mental illness. So we crazies get the wrong meds more often. Then you've got the meds themselves. How they work is less well understood than other medications. The side effects are usually wackier. Between imprecise diagnoses and people sometimes having to go on the med-go-round the sheer randomness of it all is frightening. People are afraid of random. People are afraid of the unknowns of how the brain works, how the meds work and not knowing exactly what is wrong. It's all so alien.
So that's what we are: not quite humans who are being treated with stuff that isn't medicine as medicine is supposed to be.
Thus people will do anything not to be like us. They live in denial until hospitalized. They turn to quackery. They talk and talk and talk until they hope their problems go away, because dealing with problems solved by talking and willpower makes you a hero these days, but living with the stigma and the side effects and the horrors of the crazies just makes us scum.
It's not like we're going to see any sort of anti-discrimination legislation on the books any time soon regarding us. Not with the media going out of their way to portray us as killers, be it in news coverage or in fiction. Introducing the homeless as a protected class under hate crime laws is the closest we'll come, given how many of us are homeless.
So where do the presidential candidates from the major parties stand on this?
John McCain: Walk it off! Seriously, unless you're a returning vet you can't possibly have a mental health problem that is long-term. There isn't squat about it on his website outside of PTSD-related issues for vets. Read the position paper he submitted to the National Alliance on (the problems of people embarrassed to be related to anyone with a) Mental Illness, or N/A/M/B/L/A, er NAMI
Now when you look at NAMI's questionnaire it's a no-brainer that Senators Clinton and Obama would strongly support each item that NAMI wants. What Democrat could be against sucking up to the families of a group of incompetents who comprise 5-10% of the population about providing equal-opportunity medications, in-treatment hospitalization, better access to health care, easier SSI / SSDI applications and processing, and all sorts of stuff that dealt with treatment. Of the 24 questions, only four dealt with treating us like people who could live on our own, including one about vets. Nothing at all about civil rights. At least NAMI is doing the only thing that justifies its existence: trying to make health care more accessible for us.
Far more instructive are the comments attached to the answers. When Senator Obama noted how he co-sponsored various bills regarding mental health parity he wrote:
I also support ending discrimination against people suffering from mental illness and addiction.
There is nothing in Senator Clinton's response regarding discrimination. Not a damn thing. For good reason, as will be made clear.
As for the questions on issues that treat us like adults we find that Senator Obama was a leading co-sponsor of legislation in Illinois that made sure there was housing for people with disabilities whenever they built subsidized housing for seniors. Granted more often than not such housing would go only to people with visible disabilities, but it's a start. As President, though, Senator Obama pledges to take names and kick ass when it comes to expanding and enforcing the definition of "disabled" under the ADA. That's something that can be done without Congress getting involved, as you've got the Social Security Administration defining many of us as "disabled" and other federal agencies doing the defining as part of the ADA. Congress would just have to make sure the housing departments have the money to go out and enforce everything. As for jobs Senator Obama would get the EEOC into the act to make sure that we're not being discriminated against. Oh, yeah, and he'd see to it that the feds themselves hired some of us. That ADA and all.
What does Senator Clinton have to offer? All this vague stuff about hiring people with disabilities, but not necessarily the crazy. The same with housing. While Senator Obama would make sure that we get to live in the same subsidized housing as everyone else, Senator Clinton, based on other answers, would rather have us in the same ghettos we're in now. Just more of them. Sure, more crazy ghettos are better than being homeless or in jail, but nowhere near as good as leaving those for people who need specialized assisted living services and letting those of us who can take care of ourselves live elsewhere. Senator Clinton also takes pride in her part in her husband's signing of the Ticket to Work legislation. From my own experience I can tell you than Ticket to Work can be a joke if you have brain cooties.
So, is there anything where Senator Clinton seems to outdo Senator Obama? There is one thing. When asked about NIMH funding Senator Obama wrote a short sentence that he supports more funding. Senator Clinton just gushed about her love for NIMH:
We live in a time of extraordinary and historic opportunity in medical research. For example, research on the mind, brain, and behavior leads directly to clinical advances in mental heath treatment. As such, we need to lend support to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and other institutions so they can forge a path to revolutionary treatments, disease management and eventual cures. As an advocate for health care progress, I have long been a strong supporter of efforts to increase the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including NIMH. As President, I will push to double the budget of the NIH, including the NIMH.
Nothing wrong with that, right? Except for one thing. Senator Clinton is closely involved with the group Autism Speaks and its founders Bob and Suzanne Wright. Bob Wright was the vice chairman of GE and chairman and CEO of NBC Universal, the parent company of the NBC television networks. The current CEO is Alison Tepper Singer. Ms. Singer appears in the movie Autism Every Day with her daughter Jody. At one point in the film Ms. Singer, in front of both of her children, says, "I remember that was a scary moment for me when I realized I had sat in the car for about 15 minutes and actually contemplated putting Jody in the car and driving off the George Washington Bridge. That would be preferable to having to put her in one of these schools." A school that isn't all that bad in the world of special education. Sorry your kid wasn't perfect, even if she can understand every word you say. See the ghastly comment yourself in the short version of the film. You can also read how the filmmaker made sure the kids would have meltdowns by disrupting their lives, thus putting autism in its worst light possible. This original version of the video premiered on 9 May 2006. Four days later Karen McCarron murdered her autistic daughter Katie. It wasn't the first murder associated with this video, nor the first or only murder of an autistic child by a parent. Most are due to the usual embarrassment, self-loathing and overwhelming desires "cure" the "imperfect" kids. Some have been associated with campaigns that add to the stigma.
You'd think Nancy Grace et al. would be all over this story. Oh, wait, the kids were tards. Never mind. Who cares about them.
Granted this is all more than guilt by association. Autism Speaks is all about the research into the genetic causes of autism right down to having their own private registry of autistic children. Does it matter if your niece or nephew is autistic and you don't want your familial DNA in some private organization's database? It's not like you, or the kid, have any say in the matter if the kid's parents think it's a good idea for someone to be collecting that sort of information. Plus there is a nice, simple way to prevent autism once there is a way to identify a set of genetic anomalies associated with the condition.
Why not? That way there's a lot less legal hassle than killing the kid after it's born. Over ninety percent of woman whose amniocentesis test comes back with a positive result for Down syndrome choose to have an abortion. That includes women in countries where abortion isn't even legal! So if Down syndrome is so freaking awful (and I can't comprehend what is so freaking awful about Down syndrome), you can be sure that a similar number of people will consider selective abortion if there is even the potential for an autistic kid.
It shouldn't be surprising that Hillary Clinton is associated with a well-funded organization whose goal smacks of eugenics. After all Bill Clinton flew back to Arkansas in the midst of the 1992 campaign to execute a tard. Either Mr. Rector got his peach pie in heaven, or it's eternally out of his reach in hell. We should probably keep the Clintons away from the Special Olympics. Who knows what damage they'd do to the athletes.
If you don't want a kid, don't have one. Head on down to Planned Parenthood, or wherever, and get an abortion in a reasonable amount of time. Don't change your mind later just because that kid isn't going to be perfect. George Will's son is just fine. It would help if everyone could get some up-to-date information about genetic defects in the first place. Senator Kennedy is onboard in trying to get those ancient films about people with Down syndrome not being able to be toilet trained replaced with something more realistic. My money is on Senator Obama signing on to that bill before Senator Clinton, if she ever does.
But I'm just some crazy tard, someone Senator Clinton's friends would rather have had aborted because I never would have been capable of doing anything like writing this piece. What do I know about issues like stigma, policy platforms and the ethics of selective abortions? It's not like any politician wants to be associated with the mentally interesting. Nobody wants to know our opinion on the issues of the day. With the co-founder of Autism Speaks being the former head of NBC Universal all the pundits on MSNBC aren't going to mention Senator Clinton's association with a group that promotes filicide. The right-wing media aren't going to bring it up, as they are fawning over her for reasons of their own. So it doesn't matter that I finally get this article together so late, because our civil rights don't matter. Just because George HW Bush's strong support of the ADA helped him to win the 1988 election. (The uncited political analysis in that article probably includes Principle over Politics? by Richard Himelfarb and Rosanna Perotti). What do the civil rights, health care and debate over the existence of 5-10% of the population matter? It's not like any of our votes made a difference in an election. No one will listen to me. I'm scum for what I lived through, not a hero.
Senator Clinton's response to the NAMI questionnaire
Senator Obama's response to the NAMI questionnaire