On January 10, 2012, the White House released a statement in which four intended appointees to administration posts were announced, including two who would be appointed to the Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities.
One of the appointees for this committee, Jack Martin Brandt, has a strong background in supporting the rights, needs, and most importantly, the dignity of the disabled. The other, Peter Bell, has built his entire public persona around Autism Speaks.
Through his work at Autism Speaks, Peter Bell has made a career out of promoting the concept that autistic people should be objects of pity, fear, and derision. He and Autism Speaks have advanced the belief that we are inferior to non-autistic people, and worse, that we are somehow a threat to everyone around us. He continues to stand for the "hope" that autism will one day be, in the words of Autism Speaks founder Suzanne Wright, "...a word for the history books."
Even disregarding his disservice through Autism Speaks, Bell has a long-standing history in which he has personally spearheaded dangerous and profoundly unethical campaigns acting in what could be considered the worst interests of autistic people. When he was President and CEO of Cure Autism Now, he not only ranted about how urgent it was to ensure that autistic people (such as his own son) ceased to exist, but coupled his fevered rantings with blaming autism on vaccines. As any sane, well-informed, and non-desperate person with access to the Internet could tell you, the link between autism and vaccines is just as real as a five-year-old child's imaginary friend. Bell already proved himself to be a danger to all people with disabilities when he inappropriately demanded that the Interagency Autism Coordination Committee (IACC) completely ignore the actual needs of autistic people and waste the vast majority of their time and funding on "vaccine safety."
Though there are many more examples of this sort of discriminatory and abusive behavior in Bell's resume, I must refrain from providing a full list in order to ensure that only your sensibilities, and not your intestines, are agitated by this lapse in judgement.
As a disabled person, it's easy to see that Peter Bell is one of the last people who should be representing my brethren. The willful ignorance he displays is totally unacceptable for anyone who purports to have any degree of involvement in disability politics, and the fact that President Obama would even mention his name during the same administration in which he appointed Ari Ne'eman to the National Council on Disability is a severe disappointment. Any Presidential appointee to any position dealing with any disability must have a proper understanding of disability rights, and an appropriate respect for disabled people. Peter Bell has neither, and is neither qualified for, nor deserving of this appointment.
In addition, if and/or when this appointment is brought before the Senate, I urge them to vote against Peter Bell's appointment. He has done far too much harm already.
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