I’m not a special interest voter. I believe single-issue voters who refuse to vote for a progressive based on one policy are responsible for keeping the left in splinters and the status quo dominant. Single-issue voting also suggests over-investment in a single cause, which makes me question the voter’s overall judgment and dedication to the common good. But at base we’re all single-interest babies to some extent, and during election cycles it’s something I try to monitor and question to keep from queering my perspective, so to speak. So, while I don’t care only about mental health policy, I care enough to be frustrated by the moratorium on discussing my issue with force and meaning. Yes it’s scary and there’s a lot we don’t know about mental illness, but the same can be said for the war and we’re talking about that.
I caught some of yesterday’s Congressional hearings, and it appears Obama was the smartest person in the room. But 2 minutes into her testimony it was Hillary Clinton who said this:
The cost to our men and women in uniform is growing. Last week the New York Times noted the stress on the mental health of our returning soldiers and marines from multiple and extended deployments. Among combat troops sent to Iraq for the third and fourth time, more than one in four show signs of anxiety, depression, or acute stress. … The Administration and supporters of the Administration’s policy often talk about the cost of leaving Iraq yet ignore the greater cost of continuing the same failed policy.
Word. What she means by “anxiety, depression and acute stress” can be seen up close and personal here.
While we’re on it, might as well compare and contrast a couple mental health policy statements the candidates gave to NAMI dearest last winter. You may recall NAMI sent the candidates a 24 item questionnaire based on their pro-drug, anti-choice medical model propaganda. Thin gruel, but the only documented clue we have as to where the candidates stand on mental illness. Little wonder that McCain, who is in the news this week for calling his wife a “cunt” wouldn’t go within an inch of responding to NAMI’s questions about mental health, and the Democrat’s responses are party-line, which is good, but we need sharper discourse and real vetting, especially with regard to Obama’s focus on preventive policy, which rings the nanny bells that so many of us have had it up to here with. But then he goes and hints he will appoint our kind to his executive branch:
I also believe that the federal government should be a model employer of workers with disabilities or mental illness…. To assure that the federal government holds itself to high anti-discrimination standards, I will increase funding to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and assure that the person I appoint to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is committed to enforcing anti-discrimination laws that protect federal employees through a strong Office of Federal Operations. Perhaps most important, I will provide leadership to my appointees throughout the executive branch so that they, employers in the private sector, and workers with disabilities across the country will understand the importance of this issue.
I also find his strong-worded responses to issues of discrimination, seclusion and restraint encouraging but hard to believe so long as he remains subservient to the biopsychiatry framework. On the other hand, Clinton, responding to the question of parity, takes the opportunity to link pharma with the very idea that things aren’t all that hunky dory: (my bold)
All patients should have access to effective treatments recommended by their prescribing physician without the fear that government-sponsored or private insurance will deny these life-saving medicines. That said, we do need to have a better understanding of the best pharmaceutical treatment options for all patients, which is why I have proposed establishing an independent public-private Best Practices Institute. A public-private partnership, this institute would develop and guide research priorities so that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals know what drugs, devices, surgeries, and treatments work best.
Not exactly fighting words, but a hella more than the Rethuglicans have brought to the table, which by my count is nothing.