Friday, 4 March 2011

Crippling Views

There have many comments regarding my contrarian views of late. This is particularly so with the NDIS and my attitude towards people with disabilities. I realise that I can no longer afford to be relentlessly positive. My life and history tells me different. Too many brick walls have to shatter in my life for me to be optimistic anymore. I might lose a few colleagues, friends and admirers by adopting this position, but at least I will be honest with myself.

I don’t seek out to adopt contrarian views, although it is much more challenging and fun to do so. I see my reality and I try and speak the truth. If a policy is utter shit, then I will call it as such. If I disagree with many of my colleagues with disabilities because I believe their optimism is misplaced, I think it is important that this is articulated. Readers can choose to take these opinions on face value.

On Twitter the other day my favourite political exponent of the medium Latika Bourke stated that she would like to see wheelchair athlete Kurt Fearnley on Q&A. Immediately I expressed my opposition to this because ‘there are far better people with disabilities who deserve to be on’. She was offended by these comments and called them ‘poor form’. Why? Is it because Fearnley is in a wheelchair, and that makes him untouchable? I find him to be an arrogant obnoxious martyr, who promotes the causes of people with disabilities in ways that offend and disgust me.

The whole notion of a ‘disabled community’ seems archaic to me. Do we have a community of people who wear glasses? This I believe is the whole problem with disability advocacy. At the risk of sounding harsh my concerns as a citizen are different to every other person with a disability, and I have no interest seeking to be connected to people that I share only one characteristic in common with. I have many friends with disabilities, and they are all top people. I like them because they make me laugh, or they are intelligent or they are geeks like me.

I know its politically incorrect but I actually dread going to places where all I have in common with participants are their disabilities, for the same reason I dread talking to other strangers. I fell into disability advocacy by accident. I advocate not because I want or desire to, but because I have to for my own survival. Nobody else will say that a NDIS is a piece of shit, but I have to because I need to find a policy that will work before I run out of money to pay for carers and end up in a nursing home. There’s nothing positive about that.

When I write for RampUp I am doing so because it is my way to get my opinion out there and hopefully save me in the long term. If other people find this useful that is great. I will not belong to a community however, nor do I speak for them. Just like footballers who keep repeating that they are not role models, neither am I. If this offends you it is time to go elsewhere.

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