I Believe You Can


I am a big fan of ‘The Biggest Loser’, especially the American version of the show, because series after series it has turned people who literally have one foot in the grave into thin fit healthy athletes. The show turns “can’t” into “can” and that it is this attitude I treasure as my own. If I had believed all the negative people around me in my life, I would not be where I am today, I would simply be in a box in the ground. I strongly and absolutely believe if people really want to achieve something and they are prepared to put in the work needed, they can achieve whatever they want in one way or another.

I also truly believe all disabled people as well as everyone else ‘can’ work and I define work as the ability to perform an activity for which an organisation or another person is willing to pay money for. I have never suggested that anyone should be working and I perfectly accept that there is many people, disabled or not, who are not ready to work for a whole range of reasons. I have never cared how many disabled people actually work, but simply the fact society, professionals and disabled people themselves believed they can work.

It is however the consensus of government, society, charities and many disability activists that those who are deemed who can work should be supported to work and there should be ‘an alternative’ for those who can’t. That was precisely the policy in 1930s Nazi Germany, although Hitler’s idea of an alternative was slightly more extreme. Anyone who shares this idea has drawn a line in the sand between those who can work and be citizens of society, and those written off as unfit burdens. Since many people who believe where the government/ATOS has drawn the line is wrong, they act like gods, drawing their own line based on their own prejudices against disabled people, usually wanting to write off more people as useless who should be paid off in welfare benefits to exclude themselves from society.

My many critics, those who think I am some form of satan for believing all disabled people have human potential, say that it is wrong to simply judge someone’s place in society based on their ability to work, and while I would like to agree with them, the problem is they have already written off disabled people as unemployable and inferior to other citizens by asking for them to be judged with what is politically correct pity. Also, the reality is employability is central to a modern civilisation. Children spend up to 20 years of their life preparing themselves for work, and unless someone is raising a family or nowadays having caring responsibilities, society frowns upon anyone who does not work.

Their argument fails because all disabled people can work, they have skills and qualities others will desire in one way or another. There are barriers to paid employment but they are not as insurmountable as those disabled people who are refusing to work would like others to believe. If we end up allowing society to continue believing a proportion of disabled people can never work, the consequences will be grave. Firstly, what is the point of allowing disabled people to go to university when they simply are deemed unemployable, it’s a waste of everyone’s money and resources? Indeed, why bother with any form of education? And here we find ourselves at the birth or even conception judging whether someone should exist because the current generation of disabled activists have written them off as unemployable and useless based on misplaced labels.

While they may call for pity and compassion for these people they want warehoused in comfort, a society with reducing resources is going to eventually to have different ideas on people deemed unable to contribute to society, hence it is important for disabled people we are seen as able to contribute. But when people like Sue Marsh tells her follows how heartbreakingly miserable it is to have a minor impairment, let alone a significant one, and organisations like “Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying” wants to legalise the assisted suicide, or rather murder, of the terminally ill (for now) in the name of ‘choice and independence’, I fear the real future of disabled people on the wrong side on that line in the sand, unfit for work and society, is a bleak one indeed.

I do not know any time in history when a group of people started to campaign for their demise. Black people did not campaign for their right to be slaves, and women did not campaign for the right not to vote, but for some strange reason, disabled people, who are often deeply prejudiced against themselves, are now campaigning for inequality, the right not to be citizens, and the right to be deemed and treated as second class citizens, and the worst part is that its politically correct, as well as now immoral to believe all disabled people have human potential. I now certainly feel like that clever sensible boy screaming to everyone the emperor has no clothes on and is going to die of exposure pretty soon!

from Simon Stevens http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/simon-stevens/i-believe-you-can_b_4342411.html

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