The picture shown above will test your powers
is here to prove that people see what they want to see. So take a very
close look. The valiant firefighter coming down the ladder, braving the
flames to save the child in his arms?
In fact he's a modest and quite
personable academic who is published in professional journals on the subject
of Community Integration of persons requiring long term care. Some years
ago he and his associates won a federal grant to research and implement
new possibilities in this field.
Having concluded his meticulous researches, he is shown
above performing a clinical trial of the theoretical best practice. This
eminent researcher is climbing up the ladder to throw that little girl
into the fire.
Soon he will travel the country speaking at conferences
and conducting seminars where forward-thinking professionals will be trained
to implement this cost-effective and thoroughly scientific solution.
Society -- that's all of us -- sees what
it wants to see.
sees that if God chose you to be one of His special people, a team of
patient and saintly professionals who specialize in problems like yours
will intervene and put you on the road to recovery. With their help you
will do battle with your disability. Finally, after a brave and painful
struggle, you will overcome your tragedy and take your rightful place
in the world again.
This is the myth of rescue. It is both dangerous and powerful.
The myth of rescue is bigger than human experience, mightier than the
didn't come into this world of pain and trouble imagining that we would
be labeled, exploited, incarcerated, insulted, ignored, and finally slapped
off into perpetual poverty -- all in the name of rescue. At some point
in our individual adventures with second-class citizenship, some of us
got wise; we came to know that for every Oscar Schindler a batallion of
Nazis stands at the ready.
What of the millions yet to become disabled?
What of the millions yet to be born with disabilties, the
millions more who are their families and friends? Can't they be warned?
Alas, most won't spot the truth even as it singes their flesh. Safe to
say: all will be deceived, getting wise the hard way -- if they even get
to wisdom. Many will lose their lives in the process.
Most will blame themselves when real life falls short of
the myth. Most will beg for cure rather than work for equality. All but
a few will refuse to see what they have in common with any other human
with any other disability.
They will take their troubles personally, not politically.
They will take their troubles to the experts and be thrown
into the fire of betrayal.
Maybe it's wrong to decide
what's good for somebody, as New York State did for Dolores King. Learn
what Bill Clinton didn't do about it.
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This article is edited and reprinted from
Mouth #27, the Getting Wise issue. Illustration by B. Faw