In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns. In this campaign, a number of posts discussed Trump's support for the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. He also has a bad record on disability issues more generally.
The appointment of Steve Bannon as senior White House counselor does not bode well for the disability community.
In December 2015, weeks after Ryan became Speaker, Bannon wrote in an internal Breitbart email obtained by The Hill that the “long game” for his news site was for Ryan to be “gone” by the spring.
In the Dec. 1 email, Breitbart’s Washington editor, Matt Boyle, suggested to Bannon via email that a story promoting Ryan’s planned overhaul of the mental health system would be a good way to “open a bridge” to Ryan.
Bannon wasn’t keen on the idea.
“I’ve got a cure for mental health issue,” Bannon wrote to Boyle. “Spank your children more.”Bannon's Breitbart News Service often quotes Michael Savage. In 2008, The New York Times reported:
Michael Savage, the incendiary radio host who last week characterized nearly every child with autism as “a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out,” said in a telephone interview on Monday that he stood by his remarks and had no intention of apologizing to those advocates and parents who have called for his firing over the matter.From another Breitbart writer:
Time for some honesty. Women are — and you won’t hear this anywhere else — screwing up the internet for men by invading every space we have online and ruining it with attention-seeking and a needy, demanding, touchy-feely form of modern feminism that quickly comes into conflict with men’s natural tendency to be boisterous, confrontational and delightfully autistic.Ari Ne'eman writes:
I wish I could say I was surprised.
This is the same Steve Bannon known for spreading racist, misogynist and anti-semitic faux-news across the internet. The same Steve Bannon who faced domestic violence charges after law enforcement found red marks on the neck of his wife while responding to a “domestic disturbance.” The same Steve Bannon whose ex-wife reported that he didn’t want his daughters “going to school with Jews.”
Of course we should know by now that people with disabilities won’t be exempt from this hate. When racism, anti-semitism and misogyny rear their ugly heads, ableism is never far behind. And so we have to be ready.