Saturday, February 11, 2012

On Tea Baggers and Filthy Liberal Scum

A friend recently asked me how people can reconcile having special needs kids with claims of being conservative. He was working under two assumptions. First was that every conservative gets assistance from the government to help support their special needs children in the form of things like SSI. The second assumption was that by saying they were a conservative they must be saying they’re members of the Tea Party. I cannot speak for all conservatives, only myself.

Now, I’ve already had my discussion with my friend, and hopefully cleared these matters up for him. My friend, Justin, otherwise known as the Filthy Liberal Scum, is a smart man. He’s capable of asking intelligent questions and actually listening to the answers. I have not found the same can be said for the majority of the members of the Tea Party, or Tea Baggers, however. Or many on the extreme left for that matter. I found my conversation with Justin quite refreshing.

So, for the rest of you... On the Tea Party: Being a ‘conservative’ does not equate to being a Tea Bagger. Neither does being a registered Republican. From my point of view, the Tea Party is nothing more than a group of inbred idiots with too much money. This is what happens when we let rednecks marry their cousins so they can keep their bank accounts ‘in the family’.

Too harsh? Perhaps. But, from what I’ve observed, the ambient IQ of Tea Baggers isn’t on-par with the rest of the human race, or Republicans. It’s sad, really, when a woman yells and screams about having to pay for other people’s laziness, when her husband is a member of a Labor Union. Kinda makes you shake your head in wonderment. Or when someone else screams and yells about how they want to shut down every single 'welfare’ program, then bitches about people who don’t put their kids in public school like 'normal people’, instead of homeschooling. Really? Are we aware of the fact that the public school system is the single largest welfare program in the nation? I am. Obviously they aren’t.

No, I am not a member of the Tea Party. I’m a member of the Republican Party. I want smaller federal government, not a lack of it. I want the power to make my own decisions to stay with me, not some committee back in DC. I want the people who were voted into office to do the jobs they were elected to do (whether I voted for them or not), not hand their duties off to committees and super-committees filled with people I’ve never even heard of. I don’t want to see the end of all welfare programs, I want to see the ones we have fixed so they work right and we, as a nation, aren’t hemorrhaging cash out of every orifice. but no, I don’t want to see the creation of new ones.

On the note of receiving assistance for my special needs kids... what I get comes in the form of reduced or waved tuitions and fees for special teachers and therapists from local organizations. Some of these organizations are publicly funded and some are private. I do not get SSI for my kids. My husband and I work our tails off to provide for the children we chose to have, for better or for worse, disability or no disability. My kids do not get Medicaid. We have private insurance, which comes with that working our tails off part. I did apply for Medicaid at one point, but was informed we made too much money to qualify for the one that would be useful (Medicaid A). I didn’t yell and scream when we were denied. I shrugged, said, “Okay” and worked that much harder to provide my children with the help they needed.

Part of that 'working harder’ was quitting my job so I could homeschool my kids because they public school was failing miserably at dealing with my children’s needs. I went back to school myself to study graphic art and writing so I could open my own business that I could run out of a home office. I gave up things like nice clothes, parties, cable TV, and dates with my husband so that my kids could get the help they need and always have access to a parent when they need it. Which is about 20 times more often than a normal kid does.

Instead of hiring someone to do every single thing for my kids, I took classes on how to do those things myself. For instance, when my physically disabled child’s doctor said she was going to need daily physical therapy for the rest of her life I took the money I might have used to pay the daily PT tech for the first year, and had her main PT (the one with the PhD) enroll me in classes so I could learn to do it myself. When another of my kids was born with type-1 diabetes I borrowed the money from my grandmother, not the federal government, to take nutrition classes so I could ditch the dietitians at WIC… who didn’t actually have any clue what a T1D diet looked like anyway.

Do I do everything myself? Oh, hell no! I am not a medical doctor, and I will never pretend to be. And there are certain things that would just be inappropriate for me to do myself. My kids still see general practitioners, endocrinologists, developmental specialists, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, educational therapists, and more. I simply choose to do everything I am capable of doing for them myself. If that means I don’t get a smart phone, drive a new car, or go out to dinner with my husband every other week like we did pre-kids, sobeit.

None of this, however, means that I look down on people who cannot do what I do. I do not look down on the family that sends their autistic kid to public school, nor do I look down on them for receiving SSI for that same kid. It’s hard. Life is hard. And not everyone has the same strengths I do. It doesn’t make them weak. It just makes them different.

A friend of mine, a public school teacher, once asked me, “How do manage to teach three different kids at three different grade levels?” My response was, “How do you manage to teach 30 different kids without letting one or five slip through the cracks?” That doesn’t make me better than her. It doesn’t make her better than me. It makes us different. To each his own.

When it all comes down to it, that is how I reconcile being a conservative with having special needs kids: To each his own. Others may have their own reasoning, but I can’t speak for them. I can only speak for myself... and I do. Often.

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