Thursday, August 15, 2019

Life is like a box of chocolates

The most memorable line in the movie “Forrest Gump” is the line listed above. Audiences loved the movie, and it took in a total of $677.9 million, a nice return on an investment of $55 million. The movie also won 6 Oscars, including Best Picture.

A similar movie, “Rain Man” was released in 1988. It cost $25 million to produce, and had a box office of $345.8 million. It won 4 Oscars, including Best Picture.

Today, both Forrest Gump and Raymond Babbitt would be considered to be “special needs” children. When I was in high school, they both would be considered “retarded”, a term that has gradually faded from polite society, in part due to the founding of the Special Olympics by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968.

Even though the Special Olympics helped to create a more favorable image for persons with disabilities, it wasn’t until the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1989 that formal programs for persons with disabilities were established, and a few years later, the “inclusion” of disabled students within “normal” classrooms started to become more common.

In an effort to stop the use of the term “retarded”, the Special Olympics of 2013 developed a simple phrase called “spread the word - end the word”. In order to facilitate the message, the organization also started a website to allow people to share their stories about working with disabled children:

All of us see people with disabilities on a fairly regular basis, and my wife and I (due to our work in local school districts) have had  frequent exposure to students with “disabilities”. As a result of that exposure, we consider ourselves to be blessed, due to the fact that we work with truly unique individuals, and (in our limited capacities) make a difference in their lives.

My most recent exposure to a special needs class was just yesterday. Again, the vast majority of the kids in the room really were not much different than “normal” kids, but there were 2 or 3 kids who will never be able to make meaningful contributions to society. The more callous members of our society might say to simply get rid of them, but our society as a whole would be horrified at the prospect of simply murdering a child just because we would be forced to support them for the rest of their lives.

As a society, the United States is a very generous country, which is why it would be unthinkable for us to kill children in order to save money. We are still ranked the 5th most generous country in the world, but we have become less generous since the election of Donald Trump.

There WAS a time in history when “retards” WERE killed by a modern society.

In 1939, Nazi Germany started the T4 program in order to kill incurably ill, physically or mentally disabled, emotionally distraught, and elderly people. Adolf Hitler initiated the program in 1939, and, while it was officially discontinued in 1941 (due to public outrage) , killings continued covertly until the military defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

It’s extremely unlikely that the United States would ever start a program similar to Germany’s T4, but the fact remains that we HAVE become far less humane since January of 2017.

If you review “the 14 signs of fascism” you’ll quickly realize that we actually are now living in a fascist society.

The current occupant of the White House exhibits all 14 of the characteristics of a fascist leader. In addition, if you can spare 7 minutes, it would be worthwhile to watch the pro-Nazi rally that was held in New York City in the early months of 1939:

If you have even more time to spare, I would recommend watching the 2017 movie titled “ A Night at the Garden”, which is a documentary about the pro-Nazi rally. Whether you watch the short version or the long version, you’ll realize that they are EXACTLY like today’s Trump rallies. When a BBC reporter was attacked at a Trump rally in El Paso earlier this year, this is what Jim Acosta had to say:

Since it has been a while since any of us have seen “Forrest Gump”, you’ll enjoy watching the clip below, which includes 25 famous quotes from the movie.

In closing, I’ll borrow one of them and say” that’s all I got to say about that.”

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