Binders full of ADHDers

Binders full of ADHDers

I don’t want to get all political on you, but here’s the thing: like it or not, politics and mental health are inexorably linked.

With the conclusion of the US Presidential election, many of us throughout this great continent (and elsewhere; I believe I’ve picked up swoons of relief from my home planet) have heaved a collective sigh of relief.

Let’s hope this feeling is rewarded.

One thing I don’t want to hear Obama say is, “I have binders full of ADHDers.”


Good question. While some might argue that Romney’s now famously-memed utterance was a mere slip of the tongue, closer inspection will reveal that’s not so.

Republican or Democrat, there is a huge difference between believing in and implementing women’s equality and merely paying lip service to it. Same goes for mental health services.

In the first instance, not only was Romney’s reference to “binders full of women” bizarre, his comments while posing as a promoter of women in the workplace were patent falsehoods.

He did not, as he claimed, pro-actively approach women’s groups looking for females (token or otherwise) for his cabinet: MassGAP, a bi-partisan coalition of women’s groups, took the initiative to compile a list of potential candidates.

As Tom Meltzer wrote for The Guardian, “It wasn’t just a gaffe: it was a Freudian slip, a filibuster and a falsehood.”

Strike one.

More damning perhaps was the comment that in his new economy, employers would be so anxious to hire, they’d actually deign to hire… gasp… women. Or, as Meltzer put it, “Subtext: so desperate, they’ll hire anyone. Even you, ladies.” Desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.

Strike Two.

Adding to the duplicitous nature of public versus private Romney is his clear preference for those in his inner circle of middle-aged, wealthy white guys (as evidenced by Romney’s being outted in Mother Jones‘ now-infamous editorial and video).

Strike Three.

I don’t want the illusion of caring and equality. I want the real deal.

How do we know that Obama’s administration will be any more effectual over the next four years in that regard than Romney’s would have been?

Let’s be optimistically cautious

The litmus test between being treated with respect and equality, versus being used as a pawn (no matter how clumsily) to become re-elected is actual policy creation and action.

For those of us who value universal health care, including access to mental health services, information, medication and treatment, the success of Obama’s second term in the presidency will be measured by actions, not words.

As a woman with ADHD, I appreciate how important it is for barriers to be taken down for those of us with mental, emotional, and physical challenges. I’d like to see social change that’s inclusive, rather than a perpetuation of pandering to the wealthy. Believe it or not, I really don’t think this would cripple the economy if it’s approached with a long-range view.

More issues that put ADHDers in a bind

I’ll be discussing post-election issues over the next two Wednesdays in Binders Full of ADHDers, Parts II and III.

In Binders Full of ADHDers, Part II, we’ll consider social policies around the correctional system and the so-called war on crime versus policies that target the underlying causes of crime. We’ll consider why it’s important to shift the focus, especially in light of statistics showing a much higher crime and incarceration rate amongst those with ADHD.

In Binders Full of ADHDers, Part III, I’ll look at ADHD and education. Again, let’s see if we can discover what we should be focusing on in terms of bettering the lives for kids and adults with ADHD (and others with mental health issues and learning disabilities).

In Parts II and III I’ll argue that with the economy and jobs being top-of-mind for many Americans, focusing on root causes of social problems may be the more viable route to take than Romney and his cronies would have us believe.

The election may be over, but the battle to address these issues has barely begun.

Stay tuned.

More Political Posts from Zoë:

Mental Health: Personal or Political, February 11,  2011

When It’s Ok to Rant… ADHD or Not!, April 6, 2011


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