I recently read an article where a student was asked what the plural of leaf is.
They answered tree. And was mocked for it. For being different.
But I get their answer…a leaf is just a leaf. Many “leafs” are a tree. The plural of leaf is tree.
I went to catholic schools most of my life, and was ridiculed and shamed for thinking (by metaphor) that the plural of leaf could be something other than leaves.
Arkansas State Senator Breanne Davis stands, today, in the role of that Mocker. Not mocking me: mocking all of us who aren’t white, “able-bodied, CIS, “christian”, and hetero.
She stood in the Arkansas Senate well and joined a long line of slavers, segregationists, and oppressors delivering a speech tearing others down. She mocked “kids who change their gender every week.”
First, that doesn’t happen. Bre, you are lying and you know it. And even if it did happen, who cares?! What fvcking business is it of yours what gender a person claims? Who made you “God”?
And by what authority do YOU get to dictate that, in this big and beautiful and infinite world, leaves is the only acceptable plural of leaf?
Second, you, like me, have a child with Down syndrome. Our community sees you, very new to our way of life, still nursing yourself on the performative sympathy and hollow adulation that society feeds to parents in the “special-needs” community. (For all your power, you do surprisingly little – nothing as far as I can tell – for people with Down syndrome.)
Because your kiddo is very young yet.
You don’t have a clue what’s coming.
I am beginning to realize that you still haven’t figured out how important inclusion is for our kiddos with Down syndrome. You don’t have a clue what is coming for her – and you – in 3 years. 5 years. 10 years. I know because I didn’t. Like you, I was so naive. So blind.
So I’ll tell you: your child, like mine, like all children NEEDS inclusion. They will wither and die without it. With it, they thrive.
And inclusion has 4 ingredients: Dignity, Empathy, Compassion, and Love.
I learned this not from raising a kid with Down syndrome, but from raising a kid who is Queer. If I hadn’t learned to love and accept and include Queer people, I never would have been able to raise – really raise – a child with Down syndrome.
You recently stood in the well of the Senate and stole dignity from children – other people’s children. You showed no empathy, no compassion, no love.
Where there was hatred, you sowed more.
Where there was despair, you inflicted more.
But I forgive you, because I, like you, was a victim of childhood and adult trauma. I know how hard it is to escape the bonds of religious hate and family abuse and TRULY start to learn to love yourself and your neighbor – ALL of your neighbors, not just the straight and white ones.
But I don’t know that the Down syndrome community can – or should – forgive you.
Everything you do – every hateful word and every vote you cast in the name of your spiteful and hateful god – to exclude and reject Queer kids, destroys the efforts of generations of DS Parents before us who battled the odds to manufacture out of whole cloth Inclusion for our kids, family members and friends with Down Syndrome.
There will come a day when someone calls, your child… that sweet, beautiful child … a re***d. Nobody in our DS community escapes that. Maybe they’ll push her down the stairs while they bully her. Maybe worse. Whatever form it takes, it is going to happen. It’s often someone who surprises us, too, making the hurt worse.
You may never admit it, but deep in your heart, you will hurt deeply, wondering why people are so mean….why they can’t be more loving, compassionate… Inclusive.
When that happens, remember the hate you forced on Arkansans in 2021 and 2023. Remember that you stole dignity, empathy, compassion, love – inclusion – from other people’s kids.
Its in your power to prevent today, that future hurt to your child.
All you have to do is fight for inclusion, dignity, respect, compassion, and empathy.
I know Karma won’t forgive you, unless you change your ways and start putting good into the world. I know cuz I’ve danced with Karma, and she fvcked me up.
Your fellow republicans want Queer people dead and gone. And the path you are following them down will lead to camps and death. Be careful who you embrace, Breanne…just as you have done, they will throw your kid with Down syndrome under a bus if it serves their political/power interests.
Being that I’m Queer, you may succeed in killing me before I get to see Karma visit back on you all that evil and darkness you put in the world.
I hope and pray, for your child’s sake, that you change your ways before you kill their chance for finding inclusion in our society.
If it helps, think of me as John the Queer Baptist, warning you that all the hate you put in the world is going to come home to roost.