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Bulletin Board #3

“Too many defective people…”

This week we were shocked when GOP Senator Harty said people with disabilities: including mental illness, mental retardation… and other defective people should be shipped to Siberia to die (click here). He thought this would free up scarce resources and give more room on the planet for valuable people.

Today we celebrate that people all over the world rejected his beliefs, were outraged, signed petitions, and made calls for a retraction. He refused.

Thankfully, he resigned (click here) though he did not take back his comments. He truly believed the world would be a better place without defective people.

Scarcity vs. Capacity

As the recession continues and more people suffer from lack of work, forclosures, and fear of the future–look for increased attacks on the vulnerable people in our society.

“The measure of society is how it treats its most vulnerable people.”

History is full of societies who abused and killed the weak, sick, young, old…. Go to Parallels in Time I if you want evidence from the history of people with disabilities.

As advocates and parents we need to be vigilant. Already, the wealthy and powerful are trying to create additional stigma against people who are “different.” They will continue to create an “us vs. them” mentality. They will attack those least able to defend themselves, contribute large contributions to vote, “buy tribute” and protection.

This is not being emotional or irrational–this is just the history of scarcity, the history of the people we love.

Predictable as flies at a summer picnic.

We are the difference in the survival of the fittest.

Also predictable is that good news helps build capacity, friends, allies and community. Here are a couple capacity building stories:

Oprah and Zach Anner

Zach Anner, a young man with cerebral palsy–“the sexiest of the palsies,” was chosen to host his own TV travel show for Oprah’s network. (click here)

I’m not sure how I feel about Zach’s joke about “the sexiest of the palsies.” Because he is saying it about himself makes a difference, but I still wish he would use People First language and be more sensitive. I can see others using this as an excuse to make “palsy” jokes.

Mom of Zach Anner

It was interesting to see interviews with Zach’s mom (click here). I’m sure her support and encouragement are why Zach is so successful.

March Madness: Villanova’s Student Managers

Inclusion at its best–this is enough to make me want to root for Villanova. AWESOME!


Do you have any comments about any of the above articles? Do you want to suggest any other news stories or links? How could you include people with disabilities in your life, in your clubs, organizations so that we can create powerful stories about the value of all human lives? Any ideas on how we can build capacity and inclusion?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward,

All my best, Mary