My Dad’s Left Hand – Part 2
My dad’s left hand is messed up. It didn’t develop properly in the womb. It’s an oval-shaped thing with small, dangly, non-working nubs. This hand is both natural – it occurred, didn’t it? – and unnatural – that’s not how a hand is supposed to be – at the same time.
But in no way is he morally inferior because of this reality. He is not defined by his left hand. It is an aspect of him, but only one of hundreds, and not a very important one to boot. I suppose people could use his left hand as the sole means to define him but that would be rather silly.
Approximately 3 percent of all children born in the U.S. have a major malformation at birth. We don’t celebrate these issues; we don’t cheer and hope for more babies with birth defects, we just deal with it. Natural and unnatural at the same time.
Around 1.2 percent of the US population has the disease schizophrenia. A good friend’s son came down with it while a freshman in college. He fights the demons it unleashes on a daily basis; it is heartbreaking to witness. Yet he too is not morally inferior, not somehow “less” simply because he has this terrible disease.
About 2.6 percent of the US has bi-polar disorder. A friend too fights this on a daily basis. Educated as an attorney, he is quite intelligent and out-going yet due to his disorder he has never held a job for more than 2.5 years over the course of decades.
3 percent have some sort of eating disorder. Without treatment up to 20 percent of those with serious eating disorders die. Around 1 percent of female adolescents have anorexia. Think about that… one out of every one hundred young women are starving themselves, sometimes to death! Again, this is natural – it’s happening isn’t it? – and unnatural – they are not fat, they are dying – at the same time
Should we celebrate these poor young women and help further their mental issues by agreeing they are fat and need to lose weight? Should we assist them in their various methods of self-destruction? Should we have our public schools celebrate, embrace, and reinforce their mental disorder? Perhaps install fun-house type mirrors which add weight to their reflections to help them connect with their perceived body condition? I think most would agree these would be ghoulish to even consider.
Instead we offer them help. We don’t see them as morally inferior – they aren’t – but rather as simply having a mental disorder that needs to be addressed.
Yet in what can only be called a period of country-wide insanity, we do just the opposite with those who have a transgendered disorder, i.e. they feel as though “they” are not in internal agreement with their birth gender. The official name is gender dysphoria and somewhere between 0.3 to 0.6 percent of the US population have this disorder.
Do we offer these people help with their disorder as we do with all those others or do we celebrate and encourage their disorder? Sadly it seems fashionable to do the later. Society would rightly be up in arms if more and more babies were being born with left hands like my dad’s yet somehow we are collectively expected to “encourage” this one disorder.
And the obvious reason why it is treated so differently comes down to one sad fact; it’s only because it has to do in some way with sex. This is a sad reflection on our society.
This collective insanity is ultimately based on an obvious misunderstanding of human life. We are not some little gods whose very whim can alter realty… like the reality of gender… rather we are the magnificent product of 3.8 billion years of evolution and are thus not infinitely pliable to whatever momentary whim that might be taken as wisdom and truth.
But what of the poor souls with this disorder? What of their lives? I would no more feed these people’s mental disorder than I would agree to tell anorexic young women that they really are looking a little chubby. Both are vile and disgusting acts and we should hold those who do so accountable.
Having a brain which doesn’t work quite right is no different than having a pancreas which doesn’t work quite right… neither has ANY moral aspect. But of course problems with one’s pancreas are generally not outwardly noticeable while problems with one’s brain are almost always noticeable. Just the way it is.
I hold no animus against folks with this disorder just like I hold no animus towards my bi-polar friend, my friend’s schizophrenic son, or people like my dad who were born not exactly “right”. They don’t need our pity.
Each is only a single facet in a multiple-faceted life. You can embrace them or shun them as you desire. But please, let us end this short-lived insanity that calls for us to celebrate this one, and only this one mental disorder. These individuals deserve far more from us.