I see that President Obama has made nominations for some new administration positions these include a nomination for Ari Ne'eman's appointment to the National Council on disabilities. So, now we have someone who has stated the position that certain people think autism speaks is morally complicit with murder and seems to have given this statement credibility. We also have the appointment of a 21-year-old who has never been employed in any capacity who gives input on employment. Most stupefying of all is that Ne'eman is being appointed to a council on disabilities even though he himself does not believe that autism is a disability. Ne'eman has written:
We see the world in a different way than our neurotypical peers (neurotypical is a word in the autistic community meaning those of the majority neurology). This does not imply a defect, but merely a difference — one that we have just the same right to as those of a different race, nationality or religion.The belief was that anyone society labeled "disabled" could only go so far. Sadly, these misconceptions had the potential to become self-fulfilling prophecies. When the expectation is that people of a certain type can only reach so far, they are not provided with the same challenges and opportunities that educators give mainstreamed students....
In the last paragraph Ne'eman writes:
We should recognize what diversity of neurology has contributed to the human race and what it can bring to the future. Difference is not disability and someday, I hope, the world will recognize that those who think in different ways should be welcomed.
Of course if anyone wants to argue semantics, Ne'eman does say in that essay that disability comes from society's attitudes, so in essence he could be claiming the old Larry Arnold argument that he considers himself disabled from the social model rather than the medical model. However, still this shows to me that he has a different definition of disability than the mainstream, including what I suspect is the federal government's.
This appointment of an inexperienced 21-year-old who has these views that I regard as harmful is of concern to me. I am not sure if these nominations have to be confirmed by congress or not. I would consider writing my congressman though he never responded to my question of the legality of allowing Ne'eman and Katie Miller to testify before the IACC so seems pointless to write him again. I may write a letter to President Obama telling him how much this appointment concerns me.
Addendum: I decided to call my congressman's office. I was told that these appointments are confirmed by the senate and not by the house. I have written (by email) both senators Boxer and Feinstein, urging them to reject Ne'eman's confirmation to the council. I also left a phone message with Boxer's office. I got a message from Feinstein's office saying the lines were busy, but I guess the email may be enough. Of course, these appointments are probably routinely confirmed in most cases, so there is little chance enough people would complain and we could get the senate to reject Ne'eman's confirmation. But I urge anyone who feels as I do who is an American citizen to contact their senators and urge them not to confirm Ne'eman's appointment.
I have also contacted the white house and left a message for president Obama that I disapproved of this nomination and felt he should reconsider.