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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Selling a Lie

No, this isn’t a post about the economic “crisis/non-crisis/worst-ever-crisis” acrobatics coming from the White House. Nope, it’s about a woman who wants to get her son laid. Unfortunately for the boy, he has Downs Syndrome and can’t quite close the deal on his own--which, if we were to be completely honest, isn’t a surprise since he’s running with a serious handicap in this particular horse race.

I’m not going to debate the wrong or right of pleading and potentially paying for someone to do naughty things to her boy (although I’m curious if she would go to the same lengths if the kid were on the other side of the gender fence). What I am going to quibble with is this:

“I strongly believe, and have always said, that society has a learning disability when it comes to Down syndrome,” she continued. “If he doesn’t get a girlfriend, I will feel really bad, because I have sold him this thing that he is like everybody else. That’s why I’m working overtime to get this sorted for him.”

If you have to break out the checkbook to get your twenty-one year old adopted son a shot with a woman, then he isn’t like everyone else. This isn’t a value judgment about the kid, nor is it saying that he has to live the life of a social recluse, shuttered away from polite society because he isn’t good enough to be around the rest of us. I’m not saying that his life is a useless thing.

But the idea that he is “just like the rest of us” is clearly a social nicety that folks play along without out of a sense of decency. ‘Cause he isn’t like everyone else-- which all rational people would probably agree with even while many try to keep up the “treat them just like everyone else” face because no one wants to be seen as the heartless bastard. But his mental faculties aren’t the same, the way he processes information isn’t the same, the kind of opportunities that he will have in life because of that simply are not the same as for an average person without Downs Syndrome.

I’m not a heartless bastard, but I don’t think that self-deception is a great place to start when deciding what kind of help you want to render to a horny, socially limited, young adult with Downs Syndrome.

Read the story. The comments on the original story (here) are an interesting read as well.

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