Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘election

I’m not anti-voting, anti-politics, or God forbid someone really go out on a limb, anti-American. I am, however, anti-ruin-everything-with-politically-‘i-am-right-and-you-are-wrong-if-you’re-voting-different-than-me’ speech. I understand politics are important, but does that mean they need to be pervasive? Do they need to be not only on message boards, news shows, blogs and email lists, but in a discussion about my son’s health, my checkout at the grocery store, or the conversation with the bug guy about what type of spray to use on persistent ants?

I voted this morning. Bright and early. Dh and I spent quite a while going over the propositions and candidates, and then I did it again with my older kids. Yawn. I have my political leanings, most definitely, but they aren’t my life. Sure, the outcome of this election will affect my life, and probably in a big way,  but not only do I not think it can get any worse than the last eight years, I also still have to deal with my son’s major meltdowns this past two weeks, a possible medication increase, and figure out what dinner I can make that he’ll actually eat. So, the election is important but it’s not everything.

Election garbage is everywhere. You can’t visit an autism list or a recipe list or a scrapbooking group without the “Tsk tsk, you should vote for xxx” posts. It’s as though people think that they are THE only educated person in the bunch, and THE only person who has received The Enlightenment that will enable them to make the perfect choice. To everyone with a political opinion: great, good for you. We all have one. It wouldn’t be a democracy if we all felt the same, or had to. Get a grip. Tolerance doesn’t apply just to being tolerant of other lifestyles, but being tolerant of those who disagree and letting them be. Keywords: let them be.

One thing that concerns me is the amount of people looking to vote a presidential team in because of their views on autism and/or vaccines. While I definitely want a candidate who does believe autism is a priority and vaccines need a re-do, but it’s not my major concern. My wallet is. The economy has tanked, and we’re all paying the price. If we don’t get a handle on that first, no one will be able to afford medical treatments, insurance, vaccines, or any of that anyway. It all starts with financial comfort or at least security of sorts, and everything else comes next. And that’s my thoughts — you won’t find me on any public place sharing my feelings, but since this is MY blog, I’ll take this one chance to say it all. If someone’s voting based on autism alone, they may be sorely disappointed. And if that’s not letting autism lead our lives, something everyone says is the kiss of death, what is?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten really caught up in the news of the day re: autism. I’ve spent too much time reading about the court case and which politician is going to do something for the cause of autism. Not that it’s not good reading, but I have to remind myself, it’s not the big picture. Technically, for the world at large, it is the big picture. But for parents of autistic kids, the big picture is daily life with our child; it’s keeping our child safe and happy each day. It’s attending therapy appointments, IEPs, going to the school or answering school phonecalls. It’s buying and making special food. It’s researching what supplement does what, or what new equipment we can buy to help supplement occupational therapy at home. It’s cuddling our child when he gets upset, or tending to a boo-boo without overwhelming him. It’s bathing and brushing teeth in the regular routine, getting haircuts without sending him over the edge, and paving the path for shopping trips and other unknowns. That’s the big picture.

I’ll continue to read the news, to state my opinion that vaccines contribute to autism (in a way that will eventually come to light more than now) and I’ll keep researching who to vote until election day is over with. But, I won’t let it overtake the big picture, my focus, my priority. I think sometimes we tend to get so caught up in fixing our kids, we forget to enjoy them and handle them as they are.

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