Be careful what you wish for. This familiar adage struck me when I received an invitation from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network to join a protest on Wednesday against another autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks.
This may sound like the old Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” bit where two obviously like-minded religious groups — the People’s Judean Front and the People’s Front of Judea — were fighting to the death against each other. Or like the Menshiviks versus the Bolsheviks. You’re all crazy, a curse on all your heads, my great-grandmother would have said. But in the autism community, the rift among advocates is serious. And far from being funny, it is causing me a lot of pain.
So I have friends on both sides, fighting each other. They think I should take a side, take a stand. I can’t. They’re both right. Why does this happen to causes? Why can’t people see when they are all in something together? Why aren’t we trying harder to listen and connect? I sometimes feel it’s like the biblical story of Solomon. That the activism community is like the two mothers who claimed the same baby, and won’t know who is right until someone like Solomon suggests splitting it in half?