Saturday, July 26, 2008

Savage Attacks

Here's some strong language used to describe feelings about Michael Savage... from

Stand up to those who bully the disabled

Teresa Lavinder

Lavinder, of Vinton, is a former employee of a local disability service agency. She is a native of Roanoke.

Where is our conscience? It continues to be socially OK to discriminate and bully a particular protected class: people with disabilities.

In Roanoke, we have an Architectural Review Board that has approved a chain-link fence for a possible dog park. I'm not against the park, just the board's hypocrisy that led to an Old Southwest resident being criminally convicted and fined because she dared to make her doorway and porch accessible to her seriously ill mother. We seem to care more about our pets than our citizens.

In Gretna, it is socially acceptable to go to town council meetings and, before the media, rant against two mentally challenged adults who want to be allowed to live in their caregiver's home.

Heaven forbid you live next door to these people and give birth to a child with Down's syndrome or spina bifida. Heaven forbid you need a wheelchair ramp for your aging parent, or you're a police officer disabled by a criminal's attack. Would this community shun you, too?

Disappointingly, Gretna's town council cannot do the right thing without the Department of Justice intervening.

Finally, the citizens and media in Roanoke are standing by while a local radio station, WFIR, airs the Michael Savage show. Savage refers to people with autism as "frauds" and then uses terms for these children that are reserved for the asylum dwellers of the previous centuries.

These words are considered hate speech and are words most intelligent people do not allow their children to use.

He states kids with autism are just poorly parented and are from single-parent families. He also insinuates that the parents are somehow financially benefiting from one of the most financially devastating disabilities that can occur in a family.

Savage erroneously suggests that there is no medical diagnosis of autism as a developmental disability. Nationally, children with autism are even banned from churches, preventing families from receiving the spiritual support they desperately need.

This discrimination occurs because we aren't stopping it. Why aren't local listeners standing up for our most vulnerable, sensitive citizens? Savage also regularly attacks people with various other disabilities using the same sort of language that cost Don Imus his job.

Where is the public outcry and outrage? Free speech stops at hate speech. If Savage were attacking any other group, there would be a huge public outcry.

Is it socially acceptable to treat people with disabilities this way because they scare us so much? If we don't see them, their affliction could never invade our lives. It just ceases to exist.

If we think disability can never happen to us or to someone we love, we feel no empathy for the fate of others. Disability is the one protected class that everyone joins, unless you die instantly in an accident or sudden onset illness. Socioeconomic group, age, ethnicity and race won't protect you.

These hateful, unjust behaviors happen because some people have a significant capacity to be mean and hate-filled. They were probably the ones we all knew as the schoolyard bullies, but where are the rest of us? Why are we allowing this to happen in our communities without speaking out and standing as tall as Dr. Martin Luther King's inspiring statue?

I didn't think, as a healthy, 30-year-old professional, that disability would happen to me, but it did. In one instant, my life would never be the same. But I have learned one thing over these challenging years. I have obstacles due to my impairment and illness, but my disability lies in my environment and the minds of others.

Don't disable me or anyone else from participating fully in this community and making my own choices about my life. Don't disable me with your apathy. Don't sit by and watch our community be less than it can be.

1 comment:

The Crater Lake Hermit said...

When you are Michael Savage, you are an evil lying child molesting insignificant murder abetting fraud. As such you can only build yourself up by demeaning those who can not defend themselves. We can only hope that he dies slowly and painfully from an incurable disease he contracted from one of his back alley conquests.