Dutch Political Discourse: Let’s make fun of people with disabilities!

This week’s infuriating moment courtesy of the gift that keeps giving in bigotry: Geert Wilder’s party, PVV (acronym, in Dutch for the Orwellian name of “Freedom Party“).

The PVV released a “simplified platform” aimed at people with cognitive disabilities (at the link, PDF in Dutch). Why am I angry about this? A number of reasons, namely: the whole thing is a condescending, incredibly poor attempt to bring attention to themselves. The “simplified platform” does not include any mention of the PVV’s main political stances (their staunch anti Islam measures) but also, it does not mention all the proposals they support to cut benefits for people with disabilities. Just as an example, they are currently supporting a bill that would make it mandatory for people with disabilities to take an IQ test and, if they score above 70, they wouldn’t be able to get any benefits to aid them in home care. Nevermind all the environmental factors for individuals, or personal circumstances specific to their disabilities, or even the fact that IQ tests are extremely unreliable (and culturally biased) tools. This is what Wilders stands for, consistently supporting laws that strip benefits from those who need them the most (it’s his pandering to the supposedly disenfranchised, white middle classes that he claims to represent).

I am also very upset that people with disabilities are being used by a bigot for a cheap shot at creating media buzz. I want every political party to count people with disabilities among its ranks. Their voices, ideas and unique perspectives are much needed for a better democratic representation. However, nobody with a disability (cognitive or otherwise) has been consulted to put together this text, which is written in the most insulting fashion possible. And now, the supposedly liberal and enlightened commentariat (both in mainstream media and in blogs), are using the opportunity to add insult to injury by making the worst kind of ableist remarks. “But of course! Only retards vote for the PVV! HAR HAR HAR”.

When I am convinced that political rhetoric cannot sink any lower, Wilders and his ilk prove that we haven’t yet sunk low enough. The Low Lands are now home to the lowest common denominator. Quite the political achievement, eh?

One thought on “Dutch Political Discourse: Let’s make fun of people with disabilities!”

  1. Oh, God, that’s horrible. I’m Dutch, but I live abroad and I don’t follow the news there much. I didn’t sign up for Parliamentarian elections, the last time, and the more fool me. I have a cousin who is disabled, and even if it’s only so they don’t cut funding for programs that affect her, I should vote.
    Thanks for showing me the light.

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