In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the role of the autism issue, along with broader concerns about disability, in presidential campaigns
It’s pretty frightening to think that if Trump is elected, he will be able to appoint the head of the National Institutes of Health. And the Surgeon General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.Also at The Huffington Post, Liane Kupferberg Carter writes:
Who knows to whom President Trump would hand those jobs? Who can imagine the billions of dollars in research grants that would go to beating the dead horse of the vaccine-autism connection (about as plausible as saying that atheism causes cancer) rather than significant research, research that could potentially bring real change to the lives of people with autism?
I can’t help thinking back to when Trump mocked Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who happens to have a physical disability, at a rally last November. It was appalling then, but not worrisome — no one thought then that Trump would get the nomination. It didn’t really surprise me that Trump would act like a lowlife bully and it wasn’t keeping me up at night.
It is now.
I have a 20-year-old son with autism, and the fact that we may be days away from electing a president who thinks vaccines cause the condition and that disabled people are losers to be laughed at is terrifying.
Whether it’s dismissing vets with PTSD, mocking a deaf actressor a New York Times reporter with arthrogryposis, vengefully withholding health care coverage for his nephew’s disabled infant, or making fun of Senator Harry Reid’s blinding eye injury, Trump treats people with disabilities as a punch line.
My son’s future is nothing to joke about.
It’s clear who will advocate for him. Hillary Clinton’s concern for the rights of the disabled has bracketed her entire career. Her first job out of law school was to go door to door for the Children’s Defense Fund to find out why so many children were missing school. She discovered that schools weren’t accommodating kids with disabilities. The documentation she compiled was pivotal in pushing forward the special education law that eventually became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.), the most important piece of civil rights legislation for children with disabilities ever passed in this country.