Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hold on just one hot damn minute…

A bitch is feeling illish and full to bursting with bitchitude.

Shall we?

A certain Anonymous…and aren’t they always Anonymous…left a comment to an older autism post and tried to make the case that state funded programs for people with developmental disabilities are examples of socialism and folks trying to get something for nothing (a bitch suspects Anonymous defines socialism as people trying to get something for nothing and the Missouri Department of Mental Health as a liberal tool of our vast left wing socialist conspiracy).

Anonymous things…well, umm…puts forth the sorta-thought that private non-governmental charities are the American way to address the needs of Americans with special needs.

Pause…check blood pressure…continue.

Long time readers know that a bitch’s older brother is autistic. He’s 39…aphasic, profoundly autistic and lives in a group home managed by the same organization that ran his school and provided therapy and treatment throughout his childhood. My family has experience with autism before it was well known and in the media. We also have a strong working knowledge of what the world of mental health was like 100 years ago…hell, 40 years ago…how individuals with special needs were treated when private charities and state mental institutions were the only option…and exactly what went into getting from there to here.

When a bitch sees a swarm of flies hovering over a large brown mound, smells a ripe stank and can observe a bull in the room I call that stankified large brown mound bullshit.

And the argument that local, state and federal governmental involvement in mental health is a bad thing is absolute steaming bullshit on a block of delusional ice.



"Before" was not that long ago. Before was a world of institutions and degradation, abuse and neglect, horrific experimentation and forced sterilizations.


Sorely lacking.

Human dignity?

Missing in action.

Before was a time when individuals with special needs were warehoused…isolated…drugged and tucked into cells.

Before was a time when treatment was defined as anything that shut the individual down, physically and mentally.

When my brother was born 39 years ago things were changing…but they had yet to all be changed. My parents were advised to institutionalize my brother. Doctors and pastors told my mother that my brother’s autism was her fault, that he would never know her or love her or express emotions or speak or have friends or contribute to the community in a meaningful way.

In short, my mother was pitched the lie.

And, although I have a lot of issues with her, I am thankful every second of every minute of every day that she identified that bullshit for what it was and became a champion warrior for her son.

My mother and parents like her went to war…because private charities weren’t getting it done.

They went to war because organizations and charities need guidelines and oversight…or abuse happens. There must be ramifications for their actions…or neglect happens. There must be goals and expectations…or nothing happens. And there is no…not one…other body capable or empowered to handle that shit other than government. As much as I bitch about DMH, this bitch will be the loudest voice to declare that DMH is needed. What they need is more funding, not to be replaced by some private here today and maybe tomorrow charity with funding today and maybe tomorrow and oversight granted by a bunch of priests and a Boy, won’t this charity work for the wretched look grand on my resume! Board of Directors.

My mother and others like her went to war because children with developmental disabilities grow up into adults with developmental disabilities and they have rights from birth.

And they went to war because their loved ones can contribute…they could learn, hold jobs, have friends, and give back to the community.

People with developmental disabilities have value, damn it.

They deserve our very best…not what the market will bear, what some asshole looking for a tax deduction will fund, what society feels or has decided it can afford to grant.

Lawd, give me strength.

My nightmare is for my brother’s life, liberty and happiness to be subject to a community that values a new football stadium over new schools.

If that’s what folks are talking about when they preach about family values and against our government then this bitch suggests those folks take a moment to catch their breath…a whole lot of bitchitude is heading their way.

History is littered with the stories of the oft abused victims of “charity”…and that will NOT be my brother’s biography.

Got that Anonymous?

Or did I lose you when I mentioned decency and human dignity?

You craven ass motherfucker…


Say It Loud! said...

You tell 'em, bitch! But I have to say, I've never really gotten why people have a problem with socialism. Education and health care for all, no gross inequities in wealth, etc. What's wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

As always, well said! The ways in which a society treats its most vulnerable says a lot about the society, and this asshole's lack of regard for human dignity says all I need to know about him. Indeed!

Anonymous said...

Hard truths eloquently spoken. I hope "anonymous" gets it

Sparky said...

This. So completely and totally this.

Well said

Julia said...

Terrific piece.
When Obama's two terms are up, can we elect you president?

L. Jackson said...

I'm old enough to remember the charity hospitals, the shuffling of empty souls w/o dignity. I fear 'he' will never get it for it is a matter of conscious to be taken from the self-centered me to the world of us...and one of the big problems nowadays..that ability to think about others.

Unknown said...

As I said after the Anonymous punk opened his or her piehole..

It's amazing how they spin shit..simply fucking amazing.

And Damn Pathetic.

Good one Shark Fu. Bless you woman for taking on the assholes of the world with logic and common sense.

Yvonne Rathbone said...

Thank you. That so needed saying.

Jim said...

Well said indeed.

However, I'm afraid that decency and human dignity has been lost on the majority of people in this country for a long time already.

Anonymous said...

Methink if Anonymous wants to experience the love of private charitable institutions, s/he ought to get hirself to Ireland and learn about the Magdalene Asylums, which were basically prisons run by the catholic church for women. A friend of mine was a Maggie and she suffered horribly there. The last one just closed up shop in the mid-90s. Women were being imprisoned, raped, beaten, and exploited by the church in Ireland as recently as the last 15 years.

Screw "our lady of charity" and "love of christ." I'll take a transparent, accountable government agency any day, even if the paperwork tends to move a little slowly.

You keep on keepin' on, Shark-Fu. The world needs you.

sortmeout said...

Amen to the post, bitch. I work for an MHMR organization, and I say amen to you.

hmb said...

this really isn't an appropriate post for me to tell you that I love you and you crack me up.
Our views aren't always the same. But just the same. I love you and you crack me up.
Love your blog :)

Anonymous said...

WOW! Do you have room on that box??

As someone who works with the disabled population as a whole, when the government took over it wasn't a step up, but a step sideways....

When you really look at it, as far as I'm concerned they gave your parents just enough to shut them up!

Anonymous said...

Amen! My older brother (also 39, coincidentally) is developmentally disabled since birth, and went through a similar journey to your brother's, by the sound of it.

There are some AWESOME private organizations out there (my brother's group home is run by one), and here in NY, the state has made a HUGE shift in the last 15-20 years away from institutions and into community residences - which is nothing but beneficial to the clients.

There are, regrettably, a small minority of assholes (your A. Nony Moose commenter is probably one) who decry the government-run programs, but also write nasty letters and stir opposition when the private groups try to build a new group home. My brother's home was torched by angry neighbors when the group home was still in its planning stages...luckily, the organization didn't back down, but rebuilt the house and opened as planned.

You tell 'em!

PS - I'm A. Nony Moose too - forgot my damn password. Sorry.

Ted from NY :)

Invisible Ink Bloke said...

I wish there was a 'Like' button on your posts like there is on Facebook.

Unknown said...

...I am thankful every second of every minute of every day that she identified that bullshit for what it was and became a champion warrior for her son.

My mother and parents like her went to war…because private charities weren’t getting it done.>>
As a new mom especially, this was a very empowering read. As a human who adamantly supports ALL humans' rights (and animals, too).
Even though I'd known of most of the past of our country's treatment towards the mentally ill or otherwise disabled, your perspective on the present situation was enlightening. Thank you and stay strong!
- Girl without a blogspot

tnt5150 said...


Laura in L.A. said...

Wonderful post, Shark-Fu. We need more and not less help with caring for our disabled population. While not as many people may have an autistic relative, most have relatives with dementia/Alzheimer's. Those folks need a very high level of care, too, and we as a society better figure out how we're going to handle it before the boomers age much more. It affects everyone. And as my grandma always said, "God is judging you by how you treat those who are least able to defend themselves." As always, love and good thoughts to brother Bill.

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I had a sister born with a generative genetic disease. Even though she passed from us 15 years ago, she's often on my mind and the troubles my whole family went through never really go away.

Rileysdtr said...

The challenge in working with any at-risk population is some people are inherently cruel, and take advantage of vulnerability (real or perceived) the same way some disturbed young folks enjoy pulling the wings off flies.... public- or private-sector alike.

As for the challenges with Socialism, most of the people running around screaming "socialists!" don't understand of what they speak. That said, there are numerous problems within a socialist system, most of which draw back to that ultimate bugaboo - human nature. Oh, and human incompetence. Capitalism works, people. We didn't survive as a country 200+ years just because we wore hats with buckles on them (more about that during another comment); anyone with a modest understanding of economics can think out problems with both systems, but once human nature is factored in, Capitalism will win every time.

Nicole said...

I'm starting to notice a pattern here: helping those who aren't able to help themselves = socialism

Miss Trudy said...

People are just plain stupid. We used to live in a neighborhood with a school for children with developmental disabilities. My daughter, of pre-school age, and who does not suffer any disabilities, was always invited to play with them. She had a great time, and she never realized that they were any different.

BUT---there is always a but--a lot of well-meaning parents kept telling me I was doing wrong by allowing her to play with "the retards" because they would "pass on" their "slowness" on to her. All the levels of stupidity, ignorance and lack of compassion that such arguments make a show of, are seldom to be matched. At some point you just have to take a deep breath and move on.

I have friends who have developmentally delayed daughters and sons, so I've gotten to know some pretty well. Most people do understand that they aren't throw-aways. They are great kids, just like everybody else. They flourish, they have dreams and like all of our kids, they deserve that we invest in their health and future too.

Screw what the anonymous morons say. If they felt truly righteous about what they are stating, they would sign their names.

Karen said...

Thank you, for this and for all the rest of your blog. You take their crazy-making bullshit and create something that leaves me feeling hopeful. Feeling like there is intelligence and community in the country, instead of just all the bullshit. Your blog is a gift. Thank you.

Shannon Des Roches Rosa said...

Your mom is my hero, just as you continue & C-Money continue to be my daughters'.

Anonymous said...

Your mom sounds like a heck of a lady. Someone who today's warrior moms can look to for inspiration. Remember when we live a worthwhile life we do not fight the fights that are easy, we fight the fights that are worth fighting.

Navi said...

I love this. thank you.

libhom said...

Government owned militaries, police, and fire departments all are examples of socialism, if you look at the subject objectively. Almost everyone really wants a mix of capitalism and socialism. The real arguments are about how much of each and for the benefit of whom.

If we could have the real debates, we would do much better intellectually and politically.

I hope that Anonymous clown refuses help from the socialist fire department if his house burns down.

Jen Myers said...

"They deserve our very best…not what the market will bear, what some asshole looking for a tax deduction will fund, what society feels or has decided it can afford to grant. "

Thank you for this post... your words crush me and move me to action all at the same time.
Best to you and your brother

Kristen Howerton said...

Delurking to say THANK YOU. I read often and love your voice, but this . . . seriously needed to be said. I think "Anonymous" should go visit a country where the government does not offer services to the mentally ill, and then report back on what s/he learns about the importance of human decency.

curlykidz said...

well said... I wish there was a like button too!

Unknown said...

Also "delurking" because that post deserves another pat on your back, Shark!
Scott in MN

Anonymous said...


Miss Ivonne said...

I am the mother of two high-functioning autistic daughters. Life was hard when my eldest, Alex, was born in 1989. I can only imagine how it was for your family nearly 40 years ago when people still bought into the "refrigerator mother" theory and when institutionalization was the solution to anything having to do with mental illness or incapacity.

When people talk about private charity being the best solution for any problem, like you, I say, "Why do you think the government got involved in the first place? Because in the old days, most people fell between the cracks or into snake pits."

Thanks to that socialist government, my daughters got therapy at school, the additional help they needed, and the opportunity to go to college. Both of my daughters are currently enrolled in college and on track to being productive citizens.

These days, no sacrifice to principle is too great -- as long as someone else is forced to make it. Private charity might make Anonymous feel more comfortable with his Ayn Rand-inspired religion, but I don't want him sacrificing my daughters' welfare to the Libertarian god. Government has always played a role in American society from the earliest days when it set aside parcels for public schools in the Northwest Territories, built the canal system and, in true socialist fashion, and repeatedly gave away land for homesteads. An interventionist government is only seen as problematic when it intervenes on behalf of the poor, the weak, and minorities.

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