How Autism Shapes My Campaign

You absolutely need to know this before you vote for me, I am Autistic.

Initially that may have you thinking this is a problem, in actuality the opposite is true. The current thinking of people with Autism allows us to view a bigger picture than most like to see. People with Autism tend to be a little bit more into the details. It is commonly said, the devil is in the details. So, thinking about and understanding the details in the making of laws is extremely important.

Throughout the years the name of my issues keeps getting changed so I’m not always sure what to call it.

I’ve always noticed that there seems to be something a little different about me. I look at the world through a completely different set of eyes then the rest of the world seems to. 

I just went to a Democratic Convention as a volunteer. I was about two-thirds of the way through my time and I got asked to leave. 

Unfortunately this stuff happens to me a little bit more regularly than I would like to admit. In this world of, we can’t tell you to protect the other person. I usually have no idea why it happened. It still leaves me wounded.

I find myself stunned by this group of people who will wave their hands instead of applauding when listening to someone with hearing problems and who believes in accepting all people with all of their handicaps and differences is so blind to someone with Autism. 

My understanding is when someone who you think is a troublemaker or different, you need to interview them to see if there might be something going on with them that you don’t understand, but at the least it should involve some kind of three strikes process. None of this was done.

I was told I was harassing staff and passing out business cards for my campaign, 

They had two security guards escort me out. 

I sat in my truck in the parking lot and tried to calm down. Thinking about what just happened and what I could have done.

They were aware of the business cards because I asked if it was going to be a problem in an email. Nobody at any time told me to stop, I think it was just one more excuse. That leaves harassing staff.

Sometimes the way I talk comes off as a bit insensitive. I do have a tendency to talk about the first thing that pops into my mind. I almost have no ability to edit and trust me I have been trying to figure out how to do this for years.

People who know me are used to this endless stream of stuff coming out of my mouth, tripping over all kinds of social norms. Most of the time they just smile, sometimes laugh and shake their heads and realize that’s just part of who I am. 

Noticing somebody’s differences tends to be absolute taboo which by the way completely confuses me. I do have some rules that have been set up over the years. The louder something appears to be the more I assume the person wants to stand out and be noticed, the quieter or more subtle the less the person wants to stand out and I do my best to respect those lines. 

In my mind if you’re not saying things in a manner to cause harm, what’s the problem? If somebody has brightly colored hair, what is wrong with saying I like your hair color? If someone has put time into dressing nicely or standing out from the crowd what is wrong you’re dressed nicely.

I am not withdrawn from society but I have learned over the years to be non-responsive as a way to keep me from making social mistakes. 

My differences have been an amazing curse to me in many, many, many, ways.

In grade school my mom was regularly called in by the teachers and told I was “a mentally retarded kid that needed to be in a special needs class”. I’m glad it never happened because in the mid and late ’60s they had no idea how to deal with this stuff.

In middle school and high school the teachers regularly noticed that I was an intelligent individual with unique learning issues and it was pointed out in many papers that I later found in my record. Teachers would regularly take me under their wing and try to help.

I can’t remember why I was asked to take the stress test around my age of 35 and the tester went out of his way to explain the scoring process and I tested almost eight times higher than the highest score the test had. And I didn’t feel or act stressed at all. I appear to handle stress reasonably well.

At about the age of 40 I needed to get some help reading a test for my electrical license. I can read reasonably well but I can’t do it for 8 hours straight, it was causing my dyslexia to flare up. They insisted that I had to prove I had dyslexia. I found a psychologist that was studying learning disabilities including dyslexia who knew how to conduct the test and he said I was the most dyslexic individual he had ever met and was surprised at how functional I was in society.

I remember my wife and I watching a documentary talking about the Spectrum and the description fit me perfectly.

My General doctor seems to think that there is something going on with me but he also pointed out its outside of his expertise

I havel friends with kids on the Spectrum and I have been asked by them if I am on the Spectrum. At that point I wondered if I was, that would explain a lot. There doesn’t appear to be a test for adults at this time. But because I have been asked by people that seem to be accidental experts I have to assume that I have some kind of case.

It might be a little hard to believe but the me of today is a massive Improvement of the me many years ago.

My differences have also been an amazing blessing in many, many, many, ways. Allowing me to be able to process and solve problems in my mind and allowing me to come up with solutions that work in the real world.

The earliest thing that I noticed was the ability to see flat drawn objects as three dimensional things that I could literally maneuver in my mind and see all the sides. 

It also allowed me to look at very complicated devices and be able to see how they’re working and why they’re working and what they’re doing in a way other people have trouble seeing. 

On business trips with my mom I would end up in textile plants and watch these wood and metal machines as they rattled around making cloth. I was fascinated by the complex Simplicity of the whole thing.

I’ve had a letter written from a manufacturer to my boss about me, that in all of his years of installing this equipment with the help of outside electricians that this was his first Flawless startup. 

Another one was a bar on a conveyor belt that was having some big issues that could be fixed just by adding a little weight in one spot.

There have been multiple times in my life where I have fixed things that apparently nobody else was able to fix. 

One was an intercom system in a school that was built in the 40s and the head end had been moved and updated many times. Several contractors insisted the only repair was a total replacement. After I got done the principal said he had never seen it working completely in his entire 25 years of being in that school. 

On a fishing boat in an early PLC driven device controlling 4 production lines that hadn’t worked smoothly for years and needing three or more operators to keep it chugging along and after a little bit of time it was a piece of equipment that they could completely ignore. Allowing the company to have three more hands on the production line instead of babysitting this piece of equipment.

There were multiple times on the fishing boat that a piece of equipment broke and the captain and the chief engineer had directed The Boat back to the Pier for repairs. At 13 miles an hour this can take days on the way in and days to get back out, and the pay for 150 people for days of doing almost nothing and the fuel used to make the trip. I fixed the problem with parts on hand while out at sea which allowed them to go back to work and make money for the company.

The downside to this is that my social skills absolutely suck and I seem to have no ability to fix them.

Sometimes I think people try to speak to me in some kind of social code in order to not be offensive and all that does is leave me completely confused.

I have dealt with my internal differences my entire life and will not and cannot judge somebody for their differences. 

From my point of view if we keep trying to protect people who look different and sound different, aren’t we at that point part of the problem? When we are noticing somebody’s difference and reacting differently to them. Isn’t that Prejudice? 

No matter whether your intentions are for good or for harm the problem is reacting differently to the person. The trapdoor can be covered with flowers or thorns, if we never allow the person out of the Trap how can we expect things to be different. 

I do understand it is a fine line between pretending to be difference blind and actually being totally indifferent to someone’s differences. I do not care if you look or act differently from myself. I will treat you the same every time. For me it’s when you’re actually trying to do harm that you cross my line. And I will try to talk to you about it first to just see if it’s some kind of misunderstanding.

There are two television shows out there centered around somebody in the medical field that appear to have Spectrum type issues and I can relate to those shows. They show the person as incredibly smart but totally socially unaware. What I like about both of those shows is that the person’s differences are understood and accepted. House MD, and Doogie Howser MD.

I am running for a federal office, US Representative for the state of Washington. My biggest fear and my biggest blessing is me being on the Spectrum. 

I have many unique and very effective ideas but because I am regularly making social mistakes I am concerned that that might do harm to my efforts. If the trade-off that has been forced on me is understood I think I can be an excellent representative.

If you want somebody with a unique view on life that will help guide this country with completely different ideas and Concepts then I am your man but if you want somebody who will never make a social mistake then you better not vote for me. 

I love my country and all of its people. I cannot and will not harm others because of their differences because I have been misjudged and destroyed multiple times because of mine.

I will never stop fighting for fair and equal justice for all. I know how much harm misjudging someone can do.

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