It's been bugging me since I first saw it. It hangs on a wall just outside a grocery store where I sometimes shop. It's one of those typical hospital fundraising posters, meant to push the 'charity' button in our hearts. I've seen it for weeks without seeing it. But the other day I was standing by it, waiting for Joe to go pee, and I looked at it.
Here's what I saw: A young woman is struggling to walk, holding on to balance bars as she, with sheer determination, takes one step after another. Around her are helpful smiling professionals willing her on. Above her is the caption, 'Because she's somebody's daughter.' Have you ever had the experience of seeing something, being bothered by it and yet not knowing why.
At first I thought it was because of the stereotypical picture of the gimp struggling to walk, heroically conquering disability, rising out of the confines of a wheelchair and back into real life. I understand that there are hundreds of different things done in rehab, yet, this is the only picture one has of the process. There is a kind of message here about the 'courage' it takes to reach 'beyond the chair' and into 'a life of real value'.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's all true, but it's not the reason why the image bugged me. I didn't know why.
Today, sitting on the bus for an hour and a half, I saw the poster again, and I read the words as we drove by. Then I realized it wasn't the image that bothered me, it was the sentiment written above.
Because she's somebody's daughter.
How about a more appropriate slogan.
Because she's somebody.
It was the borrowing of the parents value to add to her's in order to make an appeal for money that bothered me. Like she doesn't have enough value of her own. Like without them, who gives a shit about a crip like her. Why waste the taxpayer's money - ? But this get's the taxpayer to relate to the parents in order to feel for her. Pity by proxy.
Let me say this - people with disabilities have value all on their own. I do not have value because Joe loves me, Joe loves me because I have value. I do not increase in worth the closer I am to dear ol mom and dad. I have worth all on my own. Maybe not as much as the hospital thinks I do, but I do.
But maybe I'm feeling this way because I had crab apple soup for dinner?
What do you think?