This is not to say that you all agreed, which was actually amazing and wonderful. I had kind of hoped that all of you would make a strong argument in one direction and I would nod my head and then do that. But that isn’t what happened. Every comment was insightful in its own way and each of you had a differently nuanced opinion, both on the stay and the go options.
To make it even worse, I am apparently highly impressionable, because I would read an argument for staying and be like, “Oh, yes, TOTALLY,” and then I would read another comment where the person said I should definitely quit my column and then I would be all, “Oooooh, that is an excellent point. I should absolutely quit.”
This left me in the precarious position of having to make a decision for myself.
Damn youse. Damn youse all.
I have to say though, that after reading all of your opinions, the thing that stuck with me the most is the phrase, “preaching to the choir.” Because that is largely what I do here and what many of us in the autism niche of the blogosphere do. We talk to each other. Now, by no means is that choir all of one opinion, but for the most part I think we have similar goals. (<—controversial statement; please discuss) I think it is important that we talk to each other and hash things out among ourselves, but one of the main reasons I have always written is to reach people outside of the autism/autistic community. Because while I do champion autism acceptance, I am a person who thinks that autism awareness still matters.
It is one thing to write about autism here and get a lot of supportive comments from people who get it, and it is quite another to write elsewhere and get a lot of nasty comments from people who don’t get it, but maybe just one from someone who didn’t understand but does now.
That is important. That is why I write. I want to help create a world that feels safe for people like Jack and me. Sure, I can work on doing that in this space, but having a newspaper-based platform gives me a microphone to better reach those people in the back of the church, who maybe hadn’t heard us yet.
I still have some thinking to do and I am still waiting to see what, if anything, comes from all of this regarding the original editorial that sent me down this path. But I have a clearer idea of what my voice at the Times does and I have remembered why I have written there for so long.
I have you to thank for that. So thank you. Sincerely. You all inspire me. I am grateful to have you as my choir.