My Beautiful Wickedness

It’s Blog Against Disablism Day (May 1)
May 1, 2007, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I guess I should start by saying that of course I have a dog in this fight. I am forty-two years old and obese, with a family history of breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and extreme longevity. That genetic information means that I’m probably going to be disabled by age and debility, though right now my most bothersome condition is periodic depression. (I’m currently fine, but that could change any time too.) My father was an partially deaf-blind (one eye, one ear) amputee and an alcoholic; the social fact of his multiple disabilities and the way that he coped with them powerfully shaped his marriage and my childhood. So while I have privilege, I also have common ground and a claim to speak among the mass of other eloquent writers.

My best friend for many a year, who goes by the pseudonym Imfunnytoo, has written a blazing piece in honor of today.

Nick Dupree, a sometimes commenter here, reports on the Medicare and other national crimes.

A lovely soul, who comes to me in the guise of a Seahorse, shares her photographs from a recent expedition to the Botanical Gardens and meditates about “coming out” as a wheelchair user.

A wheelchair dancer speaks meaningfully about a life lived in firsts and possibilities rather than losses and half-measures.

These are only a few of the marvelous posts. Google Blog Against Disablism and you’ll find a proliferation of blogs throughout the disabled community — men and women defining themselves, living their lives, thinking and growing and laughing. They will not be relegated to the back of the Internet, as Imfunnytoo says. No pity. No sob stories. No fund-raising capitalizing on pathos. Just conversations in which we all must be party. Just a fundamental acknowledgment of shared humanity.

I was reading an old lecture given on the English rebel Wat Tyler (leader of the Peasant Rebellion of 1381). In it, Eli Siegal posed a stunning question — maybe the question of our age: “What does a person deserve by being a person?”

Indeed. State Medicare programs are repealing assisted living waivers right and left, despite thirty years of empirical research that demonstrates better quality of life and cheaper costs as one moves farther away from the group-care model. Rights that have been secured by forty years of activism are arbitrarily rolled back. Entire states (I’m giving you the stink-eye, Oregon) assume DNR for the disabled who call 911. And people are dying in spirit and in fact because of these policies.

Which of these writers would you send to a warehouse, to receive desultory care and to wither intellectually? Which would you see impoverished by slow governmental response? Which of these people — and the millions of others perhaps not so gifted with a turn of phrase, a graceful gesture, a telling eye — are you going to decide is too costly to keep alive?

Edited to add: A reasonably complete listing of all participating bloggers can be found over at Goldfish’s blog. It’s exciting to see so many, a brain-feast to read about divergent perspectives and to hear the different voices. Go and hit up the prose buffet…succumb to blogdrift…go learn something.


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Thank you 🙂

Comment by seahorse

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