Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Grateful to Be Canadian - Redux

I didn't want to something like this so close to "I'm Afraid of Americans", but I gave myself a scare
the other night.

I knew as I switched to CNN on Monday night that my decision to watch the Republican Presidential Debate was likely against my better judgement.  I'd like to thank Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul for confirming my suspicions.

Stick to the Facts, Michelle

To be fair to Michelle Bachmann, I don't recall her actually suggesting, as she raked Ron Perry over the coals for his decision to have the HPV vaccine Gardisil administered in schools, that said vaccine causes intellectual disabilities. She has since taken it upon herself since the debate, in less-than-eloquent fashion.

Michelle Bachmann on Gardisil and "mental retardation"

Bachmann's claims have caused quite a stir in both the medical and disabilities community, both of whom seem to agree that she is fear-mongering.

However, Ron Paul gets the award for making me get the closest to throwing something at the television set. As it was, I used some, uh, very unladylike language.

"Ron Paul drives me crazy. Half of what he says is brilliant. And then this happens:

Thank you, Danine Spencer, for summing it all up in this tweet.

I'm forever getting sucked into Ron Paul's trap. He sounds sane compared to the rest of them for the first part of whatever interview/debate I'm watching. Then he just goes off the rails into this "WTF are you thinking??" stuff that makes me despair.

Danine was referring to this:

(Jon Stewart hoped that the people who cheered for the idea of leaving the sick man to die might have missed the fact that Paul actually said "No" when asked if he thought that should happen. I'll leave it to you to watch the clip and decide what you think).

And here's my point.

Proud to be "The Other" for People that Need It"

Ron Paul said that back when he was practicing medicine, churches, neighbours and friends took care of people who were sick and they didn't have to turn people away from hospitals, but that we've forgotten this idea.

I've never worked in a hospital, but I've worked with agencies that have taken on the roles that churches, neighbours or friends would have played in the lives of people with developmental disabilities. I've often thought about how social services sometimes, in that caregiving role, become the "family" for people that have no family.

But for many of the people that I've worked with, they've never known anything *but* a family of caregivers, simply because they were institutionalized at a very young age. They had little, if any, contact with their families. They weren't allowed to make community connections through places like church, or to makes friends outside of the institution. And then, when the institutions started to close, they were sent to communities where they knew no one.

Ron Paul might look down on Canada because he perceives us to be a socialist/welfare state. But my illustration is just a simple one of how just expecting churches/family/neighbours to meet everyone's needs is terribly simplistic and simply doesn't work. Reducing government agency supports to increase a person's independence, when it becomes feasible and just generally healthy for the person, is a worthy goal - when there are natural supports to take over.  Not the other way around. And if that makes me a socialist, so be it.

So there, Ron Paul. Socialist and proud to live in a nation that values taking care of people that don't have the means to take of themselves or people to help them.

(And Michelle Bachmann. I suggest that you assume that you voters are capable of doing basic research before you start tossing the anti-vaccine rhetoric around.)

Last post on American politics for a while. I promise. :)

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