She has No “Angle”

When I was in my 20s, I did a regional theatre production at Alabama Shakespeare in Montgomery, Alabama of Diary of Anne Frank, one of my favorite plays based on one of my favorite books by a young woman I so admired.  It was a landmark production because it was the first time this play was performed in this area of the South.  Our play was geared towards children and this was important.  Most children attending performances had never met anyone of the Jewish faith and some were taught that the Holocaust was a hoax.  We had educational programs attached to our production to try to integrate tolerance, acceptance and understanding.  We did the production to show the humanity of the play and how it transcends hateful and ignorant teachings.
I think about those who suffered immeasurably in the Holocaust, those whose families were completely annihilated and those who survived the unimaginable and how they all must feel when they hear the hateful rhetoric of people who call the Holocaust a hoax.  I would think survivors and their kin would be filled with rage — how can people be so cruel, insensitive and stupid?  Or perhaps they are extremely sad knowing that the human race has not learned any lesson and the threat of genocide is still ripe?  Denial of the Holocaust is degrading and insulting – meant to demean the souls who endured and torture their loved ones who were spared.  Denial of the Holocaust shows ignorance at its purest form. 

There are people who deny that autism is real.  A conservative talk show host called autism a “hoax”.  There are people who believe that autism is just an excuse to get services from the state.  There are people who think that autism is over-diagnosed and kids are “just brats who do not want to listen”.  

A few days ago I read a news story about Sharron Angle, GOP candidate for Senate in 2010 in Nevada.  At a Tea Party convention in 2009, Sharron Angle said, “Everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under (using air quotes) autism, so that’s a mandate that you have to pay for.”  The air quotes suggested that she thought autism was fabricated or not real – a hoax, a rouse to get money from the state or insurance company.

She recently defended her statement by saying “expensive government mandates falsely label other symptoms as autism because it creates this huge cottage industry that drives up health insurance cost while diluting the needed coverage for those patients affected by autism.”

I find Ms. Angle’s comments to be uneducated, ignorant and callous.  Yes, autism treatment is expensive.  But it is not a cottage industry.  Autism is an epidemic.  1 in 110 children in the United States have autism. And if Ms. Angle had a child on the autism spectrum, she would see the need for a mandate for insurance coverage.

If Ms. Angle knew ANYTHING about autism, she would know it is a spectrum of symptoms.  It is a pervasive neurological disorder.  No one is faking it to milk the system of services.  No one is falsely diagnosing children to create a cottage industry.  Autism is a real disorder which is so mysterious and puzzling, that we do not know what causes it and we do not have a cure.  But what is known is that autism must be treated aggressively, just as you would treat a traumatic injury or life-threatening disease like cancer.   If we do not treat autism aggressively, a child can grow up to be an adult who cannot function in society, cannot relate to anyone or anything and who may have severe behaviors which cause serious injury.

A Nevada constituent with a daughter on the spectrum, a once die-hard member of the GOP, jumped ship and is now voting for Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic incumbent.  He was so infuriated by the callousness of Sharron Angle’s comments, that he switched parties and is encouraging others with children on the spectrum to do so as well.  It’s not about voting “Republican” or “Democrat” or “Tea Party”.  It’s about upholding what is important to you.  It must break his heart, as it does mine, to hear anyone deny that autism is fabricated or the reason that insurance rates are so high.  As parents we know that this rhetoric hurts our children and their chances to be accepted in today’s society.  It is hard enough to see and hear the world differently than everyone else, but to be shunned like a pariah, adds insult to injury.

And if Sharron Angle is so concerned about not spending her precious money — ACCEPTANCE AND UNDERSTANDING ARE FREE!  It costs the taxpayers – and her – nothing.

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Kim Cristo
Kim Cristo is the mother to a child with autism and a neurotypical child. She advocates for the rights of autistic individuals and their families.
Kim Cristo

Kim Cristo

Kim Cristo is the mother to a child with autism and a neurotypical child. She advocates for the rights of autistic individuals and their families.

8 thoughts on “She has No “Angle”

  • October 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    “…No one is faking it to milk the system of services. No one is falsely diagnosing children to create a cottage industry…”

    Exactly right!  In fact, from what I’ve seen the ones who are faking it are rebelling against “The System,” falsely diagnosing *themselves* instead of young children to use it as an excuse to be jerks to other people, and (if registered to vote in Nevada) would probably vote for Angle.  There’s some more on an overlap between the “Asperger’s is cool!!!!!” crowd and the “libertarianism is cool!!!!!” crowd in these two links: (scroll down to the part that starts with “Where they really shine, though is in psychological and medical diagnoses…” and also see the comments!)

  • October 3, 2010 at 1:06 am

    I hope that she loses and the voting block of families with autism makes the difference.  I hope the message comes out loud and clear to all politicians from both parties.  You Can’t Blow Us Off With Air Quotes! Thank you to any GOP or democratic members that don’t just vote for the party line, but for what is right.  

  • October 2, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I live in Nevada…trust me, Angle is such an idiot. She is well hated here. The things she says are stupid and just downright offensive most of the time. I cannot stand her.

  • October 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    did not wount to see the vido  Autism is reald the kid and the famley nead all the help thead can get i now ppl with autism

  • October 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I am a Nevadan and I loathe Angle.  She is an awful person, and I will definitely be voting against her in the November elections.  Her stance on healthcare in general is completely bananas and she has some very twisted views on pretty much everything.  

  • October 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

    “[H]ad never met anyone of the Jewish faith”. You sure?  I mean people weren’t looking for green men with antennae (or with big noses, big eyes and long dark locks).  There are around 10,000 practicing Jews in Alabama and probably double that number who aren’t (like me).  Jews don’t go around wearing yellow stars or introducing themselves as Jewish-American or of the Jewish faith. In fact, they are just like everyone else. So you wouldn’t know.  

    Holocaust denial is generally only practised by out-and-out racists, basically they think that White Christians are the only people that count, quite a lot of them think that White Christians are the only people, no one else actually qualifying as higher than sub-human (blacks, jews, asians etc).  So if one wants to overcome ignorance and prejudice one must link the Holocaust to slavery, to the Khmer Rouge, Armenia, the Balkans etc. Its all about one group of people feeling that they have the right to decide what another group of people should do or whether they should even live.  It isn’t so much that one should fight for the rights of Jews, Blacks or whoever, its that the people who who feel they are superior need to be identified and laws enacted to deprive them of any power to put their evil and generally murderous designs into practice. If we are going to have free speech then it has to be matched by an audience fully cognizant of the people spouting this sort of crap and knowing the facts themselves.

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