For the last couple of months, there have been rumors floating around that Donald’s 10-year-old son Barron is autistic. A week ago, this rumor exploded when Rosie O’Donnell tweeted the following:
She was immediately condemned for “attacking” Donald through his son. Considering the fact that her own child is on the spectrum, it’s pretty clear that O’Donnell would not be using autism as an avenue of attack. No parent of an autistic child would. That being said, this was not a smart move on O’Donnell’s part.
Even though Rosie wasn’t, there are people who would happily lash out at Trump for having an autistic child. They shouldn’t. It’s a terrible idea. It’s the kind of thing conservatives do and we’re better than that.
Autism is confusing and poorly understood but that doesn’t make it any less of a disability. If you wouldn’t pick on Barron for being in a wheelchair, you shouldn’t think it’s OK to pick on him for being autistic.
And that brings us to the second reason discussing Barron’s likely autism is a bad idea: Donald Trump. While Rosie is right that Barron being autistic would be a huge boon to the autistic community, it could just as easily be a disaster because of who his father is.
Donald’s main concern is Donald. Everything else is superficial with him. Barron being autistic would offend his shallow sensibilities and having other people know about it would be intolerable. If it were to come out that Barron had been diagnosed as being on the spectrum, Donald would do what he always does: Find someone to blame, deny it even exists or just make up stuff about it.
He’s previously blamed vaccines and if he did so as president, the consequences would be apocalyptic. Millions of people would refuse to vaccinate their kids and the widespread return of preventable diseases would be unstoppable. If Trump were to decide that autism isn’t even a real thing or that it can be “cured”, it could set back legitimate research by decades.
Even worse, Donald might start spreading massive amounts of misinformation about autism because it’s easier than learning the facts about it. He’s a pathological liar and the damage he could do to the nation’s already tenuous understanding of autism is incalculable.
It’s not clear whether or not Barron is autistic. It would certainly explain his behavior and even the unusual announcement that he and his mother would not being moving to the White House (that kind of large scale disruption is extremely bad for people on the spectrum). But, frankly, it’s still none of our business. We can only hope Donald doesn’t decide to make it our business with all the horror that would ensue. There’s a lot of other things to worry about and we should leave this one alone.
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