Autism Advocacy: Was This My First Choice in Politics?

Campaign War Room

The answer to that question is no. My first major foray into politics was the Obama campaign in 2008 and my first major protest was Occupy Wall Street in 2011. Neither of those concerned themselves, in any significant capacity, with disability rights. My views on the anti-bullying movement back then were cynical because while I was traumatized by my own experiences with bullying, I saw the movement as largely self-pitied and I had little respect for it. I had been a member of my high school Gay-Straight Alliance and left midyear, in large part, owing to the self-pity of the members.  Our world was in the midst of a mass extinction, most people in our world were poor people, and sectarian violence and hatred still infected this species and none of my fellow GSA members seemed to shed a tear for the slums of Nairobi or the rainforests of Brazil.  They only seemed to care about their own woes and no one else’s. The rest of the society in which I was raised also seemed to turn callous lens to the despairs of our world.

                Years did I spend in the trenches fighting a war that nobody noticed for victims that would never appreciate it. All without ever touching alcohol, drugs, tobacco, never having sex, or even a first kiss. I had committed my life to the austerities of a career devoted to the causes that I thought were most important and developing my social skills further were not only difficult but also not a foremost priority. While I would never do any of the vices there listed, I did ultimately realize the futility of my endeavors. No one else cared about the Yemenis or janitors at the institutions where they worked or studied and no one was going to laud me for bleeding my heart for them. I therefore elected to enter a field of activism that was likely to bear more fruit: autism and anti-bullying. That’s basically how I got here. No one cared when I tried to save the poor or the environment which I had thought were more important issues. Not that I regret that, I’ve done good since I’ve gotten here but still.

                Not that it was easy or bore much more fruit than earlier but it did get me farther than I had gotten before. Making myself a posterchild did earn the ire of a few people who thought I was shameless and I greatly resented that since it wasn’t my first choice and it was unfair for them to judge me for what I was doing, not out of some self-pity or solipsism, but out of the desire to do good in the limited capacity in which I was able to. Having joined the movement, I am far less cynical than before and see the issues as more important and am glad I am within the movement which is not to say I am not cynical of the self-pity which defines much of it and the self-pity which I have to feign and market. Deeply do I disdain that part. Also, I still fight on other issues and yet I still make little progress with regards to them and I have had to market myself as an “autistic boy” to make progress on other issues like on housing which does leave a unwelcome taste in my mouth.

                In the end, my lacking employment gainful enough for my satisfaction makes me into a more shameless advocate than I would like to be. I would rather have a political job where I worked on all of the issues affecting humanity and was paid decently for it and where my advocacy would be more the machinations of backroom politics and designing public campaigns from campaign war rooms rather than being the single advocate that I am sending out my pamphlets into the world. Fate has not been so kind I don’t expect it will be. So this is where I make my stand. I can only hope that with the bandwidth God has given me I can maximize the good possible with said bandwidth. I hope that my voice uplifts the hearts of all those reading and hope it spreads through them and into others. It’s all I can do. That wherever I am, people are better for my existence.

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