Monday, October 27, 2008

Autism's Friend in Name Only:
The Fruit Fly Controversy

My friend Linda, whose young son has been diagnosed with autism, asked me to write something about the questionable nature of Sarah Palin's alleged support for families coping with autism and other disabilities. In a recent speech - her first major policy address - Mrs. Palin apparently dismissed some of the most promising research in the field of autism (work with fruit flies) as "wasteful earmark spending." As with her research into what the job of Vice President might entail, what a precondition is, or a host of other topics, Mrs. Palin apparently hasn't bothered to learn much about her pet cause of helping families struggling with disabilities either. Glibness may be entertaining in the short term, but glibness, especially when there is little or no substance behind it, has the potential for disaster in the long run. My own knowledge on the subject autism research is decidedly lacking, but here is a wonderfully concise explanation for how far off the mark Mrs. Palin's speech was.

Families who think Mrs. Palin and Mr. McCain will be their allies might want to think twice. It seems like another thing they share with Mr. Bush is an complete absence of understanding of the meaning of words like compassion and empathy.

Check out Linda's These are the Days blog for more information on autism and this subject.


Deborah Godin said...

Great video! And I liked what you said about compassion and empathy. I noticed a while back that the Republicans began referring to themselves as "compassionate consevatives." It's similar to the name adopted by the Conservative party here in Canada, who retitled themselves the Progressive Conservative Party a number of years ago. I think the adjectives one uses in instances like these are very telling. I liken it to the very offensive phrase "white trash." The thinking behind that phrase is clear: All people of color are trash; it goes without saying. White people are not trash except for the noted exceptions, hence the phrase "white trash." Applying the same logic to conservatism, we see that the conservatives themselves seem to recognize that they are known by their policies as being generally uncompassionate and regressive. Thus, to differentiate themselves as something better than those two unflattering terms, they feel it necessary to adopt adjectives like "compassionate" and "progressive." But in the end, as the video shows, actions, or lack thereof, do indeed speak louder than adjectives.

Travis said...

In the movie The American President, from a script by Aaron Sorkin, Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shephard says "We have serioius problems to solve and we need serious men to solve them."

I would append that to read "serious men and women".

There is another quote from that same film and I would paraphrase it thus:

"This is a time for serious people, Ms Palin, and your 15 minutes are up."

I'm going to continue to put my money on an intellectual elite that pursues the serious science and the serious economic study to solve our serious problems with increasingly virulent viruses, global economic recession, and global climate change.

peppylady said...

My personal take on what Sarah and John will actual do for "special needs" is "it gods way and there special in gods eyes"
So I real don't see them getting any help, sorry I don't see John or Sarah real helping. Mainly the extreme rich and big corp that goes over seas.

Coffee is on.

anna said...

I don't usually resort to terse summary statments, but I saw a bumper sticker which really rings true.

I support life after birth.

Also, in my book, the biggest wasteful earmark in my book is military spending.

Gene Bach said...

I don't think families have an friend in either camp. Sure wish there was a "none of the above" box I could check.

Disagree that military spend ing is a waste. The strongest country is the safest country.

By the way, I decided to start blogging again and threw a new post up today if you wanted to check it out. Take care.

SnoopMurph said...

Thank you so much.

Dianne said...

the thing about Palin that is especially insidious is how confident she appears. just like Bush. ignorant and proud.

I applaud you and Linda for exposing yet more BS.

Dr.John said...

Hey. Your going to win. You can stop kicking her now.

anna said...

Gene, I respectfully disagree.

Military spending is morally and fiscally bankrupting us, fanning fanaticism and discrediting us around the world.

An investment in health, education, infrastructure, the green economy, public works initiatives would make our country secure.

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
— James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Raven said...

hi everybody - thanks for your comments.

dr. john - you have a gift for irritating my normally pretty mellow self. I would say two things in response to your comment. First, it's not over until it's over. I believe the past two elections were stolen and I think there is potential for this one to be stolen as well. Moreover, Linda, for whom autism is a daily challenge asked me to post something. I think it is profoundly important that someone who claims to be speaking for parents dealing with a condition like autism, ought not mock the most promising research there is on the subject. I don't think that's kicking her. That's pointing out what I didn't know and what I think many others probably don't know... that fruit fly research is not only, not an ear mark, it's significant and important research.