The Personal is Political
The State Department (my husband’s employer) actually used to rate the conduct of the spouse’s behaviour as part of the officer’s evaluation. That doesn’t happen any more, to my husband’s great relief, I imagine. So I can say what I want on my own personal blog, if I choose to. And when we are overseas entertaining, I could, in theory, speak my mind, but I don’t….always. You don’t need to go to many official events before you realize that the topics of politics and religion are best avoided outside of close company. See, Spectrummy Daddy didn’t make such an awful mistake in his choice of wife, now did he?
So while I could, on my personal blog, talk about these thorny issues, I choose not to. It isn’t that kind of blog. Those who know me privately know where I stand. My intention is not to divide, it is to tell you all about the girl I refer to as Pudding. Pudding doesn’t care who you voted for, or which god you pray to, or if you don’t at all. I hope that is something she doesn’t grow out of. That she will continue to see through to the juicy human goodness underneath our opinions and beliefs. The things that unite us, rather than divide us. It is one of the many wonderful things about her. I might have autism to thank for that. After all, it doesn’t tend to discriminate either.
But sometimes, politics seeps in. It seeps in when politicians put air quotes around the word autism, as though we’re all imagining it. Parents, teachers, therapists, doctors, all involved in a mass hallucination. It permeates when votes are cast as to whether or not her medically diagnosed condition is covered by health insurance. Health insurance that we pay for. For a condition that was diagnosed by medical professionals. Words fail me.
When I started this blog, I wanted to show people what autism means to us. Pudding is comparatively lightly touched by autism. Her type is certainly not as disabling as it is for some of her classmates, whose daily struggles far outweigh those she faces. Nonetheless, she requires a lot of support, a lot of intervention in these critical early years to develop the tools to let her function as independently as possible in the future. She needs therapies and services that she yet to receive in the 18 months since she was diagnosed. We can’t afford them. Our insurance won’t cover them. Decisions are made by those whose lives are far divorced from the struggles of the many families like us. The personal is political.
And sometimes the political becomes personal. I read this yesterday, realizing part way through that Brian, my husband’s friend from college, is referring to our family. I’m glad that we have talked about some of these issues with our friends. I’m glad that minds are changing, even if it is just one at a time.
Today the bill for autism coverage in Virginia will be debated. The bill is very modest compared to those already passed in many other states. It will only cover children aged 2-6. We’ll have moved anyway by the time it comes into effect. But this could make all the difference to Pudding’s classmates and their families. No matter what their religion, I’m pretty sure they’re praying for politicians to do the right thing today. I know I am.