So, yeah, I’ve heard about this and I watched/read it, and had to put it away for a few days before I could let my mind get back to it again. And then Pete called this morning to say that he had seen Savage on tv talking about his comments and how they were taken out of context, and how he (Pete) was just so angry and pissed off at the rash comments he made towards children with autism, and what did I think and am I not just MAD?
And I think he was a little surprised at my response.
No, I am not mad. Or angry at what Michael Savage said. Sure he said a lot of hateful, spiteful things. But that is his opinion, and thankfully, he is in a country where he can say what he thinks. [Though I don’t know…America is certainly getting to be a place where you can’t say anything you really think, publicly, without having it just go wildly out of control and then having to apologize and seek therapy and counseling and go away from the public eye until the out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality of the masses kicks in and then you can come back promoting some good charitable cause and sit with Oprah and cry a little and then the oh-the poor-misunderstood-now-so-noble mentality of the masses kicks in. God. Do I think strongly about this?]
Back to Savage. What he said is not anything new. And frankly, I am glad that some people have the balls to put it out there, how they really think. Because, I would rather know what you really think, and be able to respond to it, and have a conversation about it, than always wonder if you are hiding a mess of hatred behind that smiling nodding face. Wouldn’t you?
He has just verbalized what a lot of people think, but are afraid to say. So they just stew in their festering pot of anger and spite and thoughts of unfairness about how that autistic child is getting all the education dollars and our normal children’s educations are getting shorted and they should just get taught the basics and shouldn’t expect a college education…what are they thinking?! Our typical children are only getting held back when you mainstream your autistic child, because now the teacher has to teach to that level and our brilliant Hunter and our brilliant Paige cannot get the education they deserve! I know this is how a lot of people think. Because some of them have said so to me.
And I have been able to respond with my thoughts. And then we have a conversation. Not a happy one, not one where we necessarily change minds right away, but one where we each get to say our piece, and know that the other has heard it. Both parties are equally upset about the unfairness, from their respective points of view. And both parties need to acknowledge the weight of the other party’s pain and anger.
Can you see it from their point of view? Let’s try.
Michael Savage had a sibling with a mental illness, who was put in a New York institution, where he suffered and died. Don’t you think that Michael Savage feels pain and anger about that? As I see it, he is coming from a place of unfairness too. His brother was not able to get the treatments and equity that is so freely (in his mind) being handed out these days, and he was really ill! And here we are, in 2008, with 1 out of 150 kids being diagnosed with autism, a mental illness, and getting treatments and services. To the layperson, someone who does not live with the autism on a daily basis, it just looks like a strong case for the SuperNanny.
I don’t know what the right answer is. But I definitely know that beating him down and telling him (and all the others who feel the same way) that he is wrong and cannot think like that, and definitely cannot voice it, is not the way to go.