Today I stumbled across an old acquaintance from my camp counselor days and found out that she has two children with autistic spectrum disorder and a third with developmental delays. As you may or may nor know by now, I have a child with ASD as well. Apparently this old acquaintance is a frothing liberal just like me. This got me to thinking: Is it possible to have a special needs child and still be a Right Wing ideologue? And if so, how?
There are millions of children and adults with ASD in varying degrees of severity and dozens of other kinds of physical and mental afflictions. Many, if not most, require some kind of special attention, whether it be home based services like my son received, a special school or a home for adults that cannot care for themselves. These services require special training and is not necessarily something you can take a class or two or read a book to learn. Especially if the ASD is as severe as it was in the case of my nephew who had it much worse than my son.
So who pays for it?
Well, in my case, the State of NY picks up the tab in the form of Early Intervention. They provided a speech therapist, an occupational therapist (for fine motor coordination), a physical therapist (gross motor coordination) and a teacher that spent 10 hours a week with him. Now, I am a stay at home father (voluntary, TYVM) and I have the time this kind of help would require of me but I don’t have the training. The overwhelming majority of parents don’t have the luxury of having one parent at home and they certainly don’t have the specialized knowledge. So let’s say that you are a “small government” conservative that hates having your tax dollars spent on other people (because you are a dick). How do you go about taking care of your special needs children? These services would be quite expensive to pay for and medical insurance doesn’t cover autism last I looked. So what do you do? Let your child languish in the prison that is autism? Hope you find a private charity that just happens to provide ALL of the necessary services? Or do you rely on the government to build a system of professionals that can help parents and their children without incurring crushing debt?
What would be the pinion of a conservative? We don’t even need to ask. We know it. It’s already a conservative mantra that people without children shouldn’t have to contribute to public schools. Just like people with jobs shouldn’t have to help those without. Just like those who can eat three meals a day shouldn’t have to help those who can’t. Just like those who are Christian shouldn’t have to help those who are not. It takes exactly zero effort to extend that philosophy of greed and selfishness to not wanting to pay for special needs children if they don’t have one of their own. Some of them don’t even think autism is real.
The Conservative creed: I got mine, screw you!
Autism does not discriminate. So presumably half of all autistic children have conservative parents. Do they all throw their children to the wolves? Or do they turn to the government for professional help. I’m guessing they turn to the professionals since most of them can’t possibly afford to go it alone.
How do they reconcile that with their hatred of all things government? It’s easy enough to ignore all the stuff government does in the background. No one thinks about how clean the air and water is compared to 70 years ago. No one remembers that rivers used to routinely burst into flame from all the pollution. No one wonders what life would be like without firefighters and police. These services are essentially invisible to us and so the Right Wing pretends that they don’t exist or that they would be just fine if the government didn’t do it.
These are, of course, childish people putting their fingers in their ears and yelling “LALALALA! I HATE GOVERNMENT!”
But they can’t pretend the services for special needs is invisible. It’s right there, in their face, day in and day out. They KNOW that they need it and they KNOW that, without the government, They wouldn’t have it. Do they pretend that they are a special case? Or that it’s THEIR tax dollars, knowing full well that they’re receiving far more than they put in? Or do they just rationalize that they deserve it for being a good American and those lazy Negros welfare people shouldn’t get a dime for their welfare kids?
How do they choke down that kind of hypocrisy on a daily basis? How do they vote for politicians that they know, for a fact, want to cut the very services that they desperately rely on for their children?
Is it even possible to be that stupid?
So my question to you, the reader, is: Do you know any Far Right, Glenn Beck loving, Fox News watching, Tea Party loving parents that rely heavily on government services for their child and how do they rationalize it?
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Note from The Christian Left: Autism is a topic near and dear to our heart. We'll be re-posting this article periodically on our Facebook page. We plan to add some links below for Autism Resources on the web as we move forward. If you know of some, please post them in the comments of this article.
This article was republished by permission under a Creative Commons License.
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.