'Bout spit up my ginger ale Monday night when I saw an ad from Hillary Clinton taking on Donald Trump for his arm-flapping imitation of a disabled reporter -- Trump claims he didn't remember the reporter and was just lampooning his excitedness, not his illness.
The Hillary ad's mom said, "It's not uncommon for autistic kids to flap their hands," showing a teenage boy doing just that. "When I saw that [Trump], that was completely disqualifying. I'm a Republican, but this election is so much more than party. My son Max can't live in Trump world, so I'm crossing Party Lines and voting for Hillary. I don't always agree with her, but she's reasonable, she's smart, people can work with her to solve problems. I want to be able to tell kids that I did the right thing when it really mattered."
Oh gosh, well, where to start. Many AOA readers will regard the idea that Hillary is looking out for autistic kids as a canard, to use one of my favorite words for a lie, a fable, a hoary bit of nonsense. Without her resolute "sky is blue" defense of vaccines and her government-heavy intervention in children's health in the 1990s -- progressives always know what's best, and especially love hepping de chewdwen -- we might not have an epidemic to begin with, or at least we might have stopped it earlier, which would have really helped kids. Right now about a trillion dollars would be a nice round figure for the kind of help that's needed.
So yes, galling. But somehow I find even more annoying the elision of the reporter's disability, a joint abnormality, with autism. I mean, the mom didn't exactly say it was the same thing, and the point was kind of the same, but the idea was clearly left that Trump was mocking a child with autism. Which, again, is kind of maddening as his view that vaccines cause autism is exactly correct, and Hillary's claim that they don't is exactly wrong.
Is it any wonder we're going half mad this election season, or half of us are going mad and the other half are just mad, or whatever? Don't take advantage of autism, OK?
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.