Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Angry Activism - Not Me...

I appreciate the power of passion -- but I also recognize its limits.

I can seem passionate about a few things, but the general reality is that being "excited" and "enthusiastic" is not the same as being passionate. I'm interested in the language arts, visual design, and technology. But, my passion is not the passion of a missionary out to change the world. I might be opinionated, but that's not uncommon among artists.

Reading blogs and columns by "autism advocates" sometimes leaves me uneasy. Their passion is angry, an unsettling bitterness pervades some of the writing. Even when I agree with a general claim or viewpoint, I find myself wishing the arguments were made in a more moderate tone.

Maybe it is because I think everyone faces some challenges. I don't see any obstacles I face as particularly horrible. Insensitive, rude people bother me, but that's life.

Because I realize there are costs to accommodation, treatments, and education, I don't demand or even expect an ideal world. Good enough is okay.

With governments, organizations, and businesses struggling financially, the best approach to activism seems to be one of compromise. What can be done, with limited resources, without pitting one group of people against another? We don't need various groups battling each other.

Unfortunately, group versus group is part of democratic debate, I suppose. Compromise takes time and effort, and is unlikely with limited resources. I don't think any cause of importance to me is necessarily more important than other causes.

Should I be upset by people using the word "disabled?" I'm not. My body has some deficiencies. My right arm is "disabled" -- it certainly isn't "able" and neither is my curved spine. Who doesn't have a few disabilities? Imperfect eyes, diminished hearing... we all become "disabled" over time, anyway.

I'm not upset by the phrase "atypical neurology." I'm not typical, and that's the way it is. Personally, I consider being "gifted" as socially disabling as having "characteristics of high-functioning autism." I'm odd. That's me. The people who aren't odd are the oddities... technically.

I just don't get angry or defensive about being a tad bent and different.

Sure, I hate to read about abuses of disabled children. I dislike stories of people being cruel. But, I think any abuse is abuse -- period.

Yes, I actually thing there are "degrees" of disability. People in wheelchairs need more access than I do. The blind need more assistance than I do.

I'm not angry about my life. It's okay. I've met jerks -- but they are likely jerks to everyone. Taking the jerks too personally would simply leave me bitter and vindictive, like many of the articles I have read lately.

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