We Will Miss You, Senator Kennedy

August 27, 2009

On August 25th, 2009, at approximately 2am, America lost one of its greatest elder statesmen to brain cancer. Many people know this terrible day would come soon, but nobody really knew how much of a big deal it would be in the entire world. 

Of course, I never knew him at all, I’d never even met the man. None of us in our system had. We’re mathematical, not political. And we’re not important enough to have met somebody like that….important isn’t the right word, but hey, we’re autistic, and we cannot always find the right words to express our thoughts precisely. But I and the rest of us knew that he was a big deal in the healthcare debate. Healthcare is very important to us as autistics, and more basically, as citizens of a country in which there are far too many people who cannot afford proper coverage for a myriad of reasons. Proper healthcare coverage would (hopefully…..someone with more knowledge of this issue than myself, please comment!) allow families with autistic loved ones to have access to proven, non-quack therapies (again not exact word I want) if they were needed. I would hope that the goals of “therapy” would be “helping a person do what xe wants to or is able to,” (ability, I believe, is quite variable. Every person has ability. Ableism is so very wrong because it focuses on very arbitrary criteria for “ability” and misses the point that every person is ABLE to do SOMETHING.) 

This is getting way off topic….but….

A newborn comes into the world with certain abilities…..xe can use xyr vocal cords (quite effectively, no lessons needed) to procure nutrition, getting cleaned up, demanding attention for any other reason, and probably other stuff that I cannot think of at the moment because I’m not around any newborn babies to observe other things xey might be asking for. Babies at this stage are (mostly; there are exceptions) unaware of having these abilities, but they still exist. Even if a person does not or cannot move out of this particular life stage (think of Ashley X) XE IS STILL ABLE TO DO THESE THINGS. My purpose for mentioning Ashley X in this case is not to advance the idea of ableism but to explain that no matter what people assume about her mental capacity, she is still able to do certain things. And if she really does exhibit a liking for Andrea Boccelli’s music…well crap, I forgot where I was going with this sentence. It’s quite unfortunate and criminal that other people were able to make choices for her and butcher her body the way they did. 

The late Senator probably had a deeper understanding of this kind of thing than most people….he had a sister who was institutionalized for life after age 23 because of a fucked lobotomy. Why the hell she was forced to have it in the first place…..I don’t have a clue. There is NO REASON WHATSOEVER to force another person to have any part of xyr body altered “for the sake of convenience to others.” 


Anyway…..I have lots more to say on this but I cannot write it at the moment because it’s too overwhelming. 


We’ll Miss You, Senator……


Rest in Peace. I’m not surprised that you told your family you were ready to go…..after all the shit you had to go through in life, who wouldn’t be? 


The Integral



  1. As to the question of who forced the lobotomy on Rose Kennedy (Ted’s older sister), the answer would be her father, Joe Kennedy, Sr.

    Evidently Rose was a young woman with perhaps slight cognitive impairment (her personal journals reveal a full life), but who also perhaps had depression and engaged in what was called “inappropriate sexual behavior” at the time. Her father found a doctor that would perform a lobotomy to cure her of her urges. Afterwards, she was severely mentally impaired, and shipped off to a residential facility in Wisconsin. The family (except for her sister) almost never visited, and Rose was never mentioned in writings about the family.

    See here:


    for an account of this.

    This wasn’t Ted Kennedy’s fault, of course. Though I would not be quick to annoint him a saint, given the recent revelation that he “liked jokes about Chappaquidick” (the incident in 1969 when he was allegedly drunk and drove his car off a bridge with his secretary in it-she died, and he didn’t seek help or report the accident until the next day). How someone could joke about that sickens me.

    See here:

    for the audio of one of Kennedy’s friends (former Newsweek editor Ed Klein) fondly recalling this fact about Ted Kennedy.


    • Wow Joe…..that Colby Cosh article is quite disturbing…….though not really surprising.

      Thanks for sharing.


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