Thursday, September 4, 2014

Advocating for Irony

image from THE NEW YORK TIMES 
My disability activists friends have already seen this story, most of whom reacted with What the ... ? 

On the other hand, I have many friends who aren't in the movement, and so it's a story worth recirculating in the mainstream.

It boils down to this: The Disability Rights Legal Center has appointed a new executive director.

Hot news, huh? 

Well, there is this: the new director of the DRLC is an attorney who most recent position was with an organization called Compassion and Choice.

Why's that news? Compassion and Choice was formerly the Hemlock Society, perhaps one of the most notorious and extreme "right to die" organizations. There are several fundamental issues people with disabilities worry over—access to education and employment; access to home assistance rather than institutionalization; and the idea that right-to-die laws will evolve into compulsory obligation-to-terminate laws. 

We're not talking about the paranoid Palin death panels here. We're talking about a culture developing in the USA similar to that in the Netherlands where assisted euthanasia is now evolved into "let's look the other way" involuntary euthanasia. 

I am not naive. I know a technologically driven society will move toward "cure" of disability, and so disability, in spite of democratic, human-centric principles, society will evolve toward seeing disability as either fixable or intolerable. 

We see it already in abortion, which is a medical technical solution applied to certain types of disabilities. Look up the statistics on abortion numbers when the child carries the gene for Down Syndrome. 

This is nothing new. At nearly the same time, the DRLC made its appointment the New York Times  carried a report on a memorial for people with disabilities killed by the Nazis.

Do I believe you are a fascist if you advocate for assisted suicide laws? No. I can even visualize a circumstance where I might be willing to murder myself. I simply think there is no safe place for the government to tread on this swampy ground.

I also think those who hired the assisted suicide proponent to advocate for disability rights apparently have no sense of irony, let alone common sense.

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