In December of last year I wrote a blog post called 'My Problem With The Paralympics'. It was, as I stated within the post, written with a degree of uncertainty. This uncertainty stems largely from the fact that because I'm still struggling to come to terms with having a severely disabled daughter - who is still very young - I find anything to do with disability emotionally (and intellectually) difficult. Every single day of my life is filled with sadness, frustration, bitterness... actually, if you've read this blog before you'll know what every day is like.
That said, I find that nine months later I stand behind most of what I said - or, rather, felt. I don't expect people to agree with my view, by the way. I suppose all I was hoping for was an understanding of why I - personally - might feel that way. And thankfully, most people, after reading the post - maybe after putting themselves in my shoes - did see why I might feel that way, even if they disagreed with me. Which was great.
I mention all of this because tonight on Twitter one of my followers tweeted a link to that old post to make his own points, to give some kind of credence to his own problems with the Paralympics. Actually, what he said was: "I don't like the paralympics. At all. In complete agreement with @paulsaxton. Makes me uncomfortable."
As a result of that, there were quite a few replies from people who were a bit outraged by the 'uncomfortable' bit. Of course, they didn't actually read the blog post. And why should they? They were just replying to what looked like a provocative and rather stupid tweet.
I have no idea, by the way, why that person who co-opted me in their tweet is uncomfortable with the Paralympics. But whatever the reason, I'm quite fucked off that he dragged me into it. If he's uncomfortable with the Paralympics, why doesn't he write his own post? So yes, I'm annoyed that he's made me look like some insensitive, contrary dick who's just mouthing off about the Paralympics for no reason.
As time has passed, I'm a little more open to the idea that the Paralympics will be a force for good. It's been great to see so many people enthused by it. I hope our Paralympians do well - I'm as impressed with their personal achievements and stories as anyone. Good for them. And I hope it goes some way towards changing attitudes.
That said, let's not forget that in the run up to these games - during a time when the media was full of great stories about the Paralympics - that hate crimes towards the disabled greatly increased. (More here.)
So we'll see.