Keeping Developmental Disabilities Out of the Culture War

I had an online op-ed in the New York Times yesterday, lamenting Rick Santorum’s efforts to make intellectual and developmental disabilities yet another front in the culture wars. My wife and I–like millions of other caregivers–are indescribably insulted by the argument that liberals disdain the disabled, favor amniocentesis to reduce health care costs, or look down on people who choose to raise disabled children. That’s such a poisonous and unfounded meme.

Mr. Santorum fails to appreciate many things, including the way liberal activists, politicians, and jurists have fought fordecades to expand social insurance and specific services for disabled people and their families. There is a reason the Arc and other organizations supporthealth reform.

Here is the piece. Comments appreciated. Please respect the seriousness of the topic and the deep feelings on all sides here.

One doesn’t get paid much to write for the Times. It is still wonderful to publish a well-edited piece in that space. An editor found my earlier column at the Reality-Based Community and encouraged me to write a related piece.

Leaving aside my own work, I hope that the Times follows this general process more often. Such reconnoitering makes more sense than relying entirely on a mountain of submissions–almost all of which are rejected without much of a close read. Editors know what they want. The web is filled with great material written by talented, but relatively unknown authors who would greatly benefit from the Times‘ global reach.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.