Updated.

In response to this, this, and this:

When I was a kid, I didn’t like the word “disabled.” I don’t use the word often. If you search this website for the word, you’ll find only 39 posts that even contain it, many of which were written by others. During the last 5 years, I have published nearly 1,400 posts; I’ve specifically mentioned my disability in less than two dozen of them, and the vast majority of those posts were concerned with a larger story. All told, less than 1% of everything I have ever posted on this website even mentions my disability. Indeed, I have only published one post that is specifically about my experience living with a disability.

There is a big difference between allowing something to define your identity and something simply informing it.

Again, search the archives. I’ve written about my disability, primarily, as a response to those who believe it’s appropriate to attack, satirize, or lampoon me on the basis of my disability. I’ve remained steadfast: I believe it’s outrageous and hateful. It’s not civil. It’s purposely hurtful.

Frankly, I don’t mind when critics attack, satirize, or lampoon me for my opinions, but when criticism against me is framed or presented in the context of my physical disability, it loses all credibility.

To me, it’s always fair game to call those people out for their simple-minded bigotry, particularly when they couch their bigoted comments by attempting to draw attention to their own physical or mental challenges.

It’s okay for me to call someone else a “gimp” or to claim they’ve only coasted by in life by playing on the sympathies and the pity of others, because, you see, I had a stroke a few years ago, which makes me qualified to make such accusations and exempt from any criticism. It’s playing the Disability Card in order to accuse someone else of playing the Disability Card. It doesn’t work; it’s bogus and hypocritical.

Greg Aymond has written more about the fact that I have cerebral palsy than I have. Last year, he published an entire piece about it, titled “Fred’s Disability” (Mr. Aymond refers to me as Fred or Freddy), after I called foul when JacquesBarack, a blogger whose entire raison d’etre was to support Von Jennings’s campaign for Alexandria Mayor, attempted to spread the meme that I suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. At the time, I said it was nothing more than “cowardly bigotry,” and I stand by that.

Here’s what Mr. Aymond said at the time:

I have nothing against Fred for his disability.

What I do have against Fred is his writings on his blog.

To me, that’s fine and fair, though I am not sure why would anyone would ever hold it “against” me that I was born with cerebral palsy. I didn’t have much of a say in the whole thing.

Either way, what is most fascinating to me is what Mr. Aymond wrote immediately prior (bold mine):

Fred White… wrote a post today entitled “It Is What It Is” about his cerebral palsy as a counter to what Jacques Barack has been writing about him. I too do not like Jacques Barack’s constantly referring to Fred as “Fetal Freddie” claiming that he suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome.

I know full well that Jacques Barack could turn his own sickness toward me as I have been disabled too since my October 2008 stroke.

The “sickness” to which Mr. Aymond was referring was the way in which another blogger attempted to attack and defame me on the basis of my disability. Way back in July of 2010, Mr. Aymond recognized that he could also be targeted and publicly attacked for his disability; as critical as he has been of me, he actually seemed to share the belief that the whole “Fetal Freddy” thing really crossed the line.

Needless to say, during the last few months, Mr. Aymond has changed his position. I wrote about it, most recently, on February 17th, after he superimposed a photo of me he mined from Facebook onto a stock image of a person sitting in a wheelchair and captioned it: “Freddy’s Gimpy Little Ass Types More Crap On His Blog.” He explained:

I call Freddy a gimp and place his photo in a wheelchair because he uses his disability for sympathy (no matter what he says). Freddy was probably hired by City Hall for his liberal ways and his disability. It couldn’t have been for his knowledge or experience because he had none. Many of us, including me, have disabilities, but we do not use them to further our own agendas like Freddy does.

Compare that to what he said about the real reason I have my job back in July:

You see, Fred only got his job as the mayor’s publicist, at over $50,000 a year, because he fell in love with and supported our mayor’s screw-ball ideas on his blog. Fred has kept that job because he is now the mayor’s attack dog on his on his blog.

Then flash-forward to a few days ago, when Greg Aymond accused me of both “misleading” the people of Central Louisiana and of “continually brag(ging) on his own disability in order to gain sympathy from his readers in an effort to make his lies and hiding of the facts more believable.” He even created an image to back him up: Me in a wheelchair, looking derelict, while being pushed onto a sidewalk by the Mayor. He captioned the photo, “Jacques and Freddy On Their Way To Work At Alexandria City Hall,” and he explained:

First, get over the fact of the picture posted at left. I do not care what you may think of it. Freddy doesn’t mind bragging on his disability so I don’t mind pointing it out either.

For the record, I do not use a wheelchair; I walk on my own, and I live independently. Maybe some people think wheelchair jokes are hilarious. Unless they’re being told by someone who is in a wheelchair, to me, they’re usually hateful and tone-deaf; they subtly rely on the notion that a wheelchair diminishes a person’s dignity, integrity, and credibility.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t write often about my disability, but when I do, it is usually to point out stuff like thishate speech, ad hominem attacks, things that contribute to a corrosive public discourse. The truth is actually very simple: Greg Aymond perceives my disability as a personal and political weakness. It has nothing to do with anything I’ve actually written; he hasn’t quoted anything that I have ever written that backs him up. It’s a weakness he thinks he can exploit. Here’s what he wrote two days ago, as a comment on a post he titled  “A Comment on My Disability and a Response” (bold mine):

I repeat, I, with my disaabilities (sic), am not the mayor of this city, and am not the mayor’s mouthpiece. I recognize my disabilties and have given up the majority of my practice. I don’t not carry on with it.

Of course it isn’t Freddy’s fault that he is disabled. But it is Freddy’s fault that he hides behind his disability with his left-wing and pro-Jacques Roy writings on his blog.

And no my mother wouldn’t givee (sic) me the same advice, becaause (sic) she long ago learned that I am a grown man with my own opinions.

In short, I disagree with you about Jacques and Freddy. I feel that they are destroying my city and I will use every tool that I have left to fight them.

He will “use every tool” that he has. It’s not personal; it’s political. I suppose he is implying that one of the “tools” he can use is my disability. And to some, maybe it works. But the person Greg Aymond believes me to be has never been the person I actually am, and I’ve never been nearly as important as he thinks I am. We’ve never met.

It’s true: I may not possess much respect for Mr. Aymond, but I would never criticize him for being a stroke victim. That’s just not in my DNA. I’ve mentioned his stroke before, to be sure, but only by way of pointing out that Mr. Aymond and I are both disabled. To do so, to borrow a word from Mr. Aymond, would be “sickness.”

Update: Greg Aymond responds:

Freddy wrote that I am picking on him for talking about his disability and even mentioned the few posts he has made about his disability.

What Freddy, a master at failing to tell us the truth, fails to mention is that he has worked his disability into a lot of his posts. Hell, he even wrote about it a few days ago when he wrote about his deceased grandmother.

I don’t like Freddy because he is an egotistical left-wing blogger who is paid by my tax money to be on the staff of that political gang ran by Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy.

But primarily, I have posted two photos of Freddy in a wheelchair because I know that it gets his goat and he will write something in response. I know that I must be doing something right.

I’m glad he made it clear: He’s just doing this to me in order to get my “goat,” with the hope that I’ll respond to him.

Mission Accomplished, Greg.

10 thoughts

  1. Everyone always wonders and misunderestimates this logical fallacy, but what we have here is a textbook example of Greg “Begging the Question,” to wit: he seeks to cancel out your respective “disabilities”, in lieu of his own attack on yours, thus “begging the question” of his own political inadequacies.
    It is as blatant as a tar baby at da crab shack.

  2. First, I think it an inspiration what you have accomplished despite some physical limitations of CP and you obviously have an awesome family who has always told you that you can be whatever you want to be.

    Second, don’t let Greg get your “goat”. Immature and thoughtless bullies pick the most prominent ‘weak spot’ to take a potshot at. Definition: 1. A random or easy shot.; 2. A criticism made WITHOUT CAREFUL THOUGHT and aimed at a handy target for attack – sound familiar?? People who make potshots are losers.

    1. Thank you, Andrea. You rock.

      My mother keeps reminding me of this, from one of Paul’s letters: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Phil 4:8.

  3. Lamar, I had read some of your writing before I attended RT5 last August. I recognized you but I didn’t get a chance to meet you. I had no idea about your CP until I saw you walking later in the day. I have a friend with CP so I recognized it was that or something similar. It makes no difference. My friend doesn’t allow it to define his life and obviously you don’t either.

    My strong recommendation regarding attacks on your physical condition, DON’T ENGAGE THE CRAZY. The more you engage the crazy, the more it feeds it. It is a never-ending cycle with a bully. Bullies love to get a response. They hate it when you ignore them. They can’t push your buttons if you don’t wear them.

    It’s fine to answer political attacks, mischaracterizations, lies and misstatements of fact (example: reiterating Aymond was a member of the KKK). Stick to those. Ignore anything else.

    Any time you respond to a bully or stalker, you reset the clock. If it took 10 personal attacks to get to respond, he knows that and will continue to attack until he gets that response. You may step back and it might take 15 attacks the next time, but as soon as you respond he knows if he keeps attacking, you’ll respond after 15. Remember the movie “War Games” with Matthew Broderick? Joshua the computer figured it out. “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”

  4. Lamar,

    I really don’t want to be patronizing. I really, really don’t. However, the only way this is going to stop is to JUST IGNORE HIM. Don’t read his blog. Don’t care about what he says. The more you respond the more you lower yourself, not necessarily to his level, but to the level of the discourse.

    I got some good advice long ago. I try to follow it, but it is not always possible. Here goes:

    Somebody speaks ill of you? Speak well of them.

    Somebody puts you down? Compliment them.

    If you have contact (and these blog entries are most certainly contact) with someone you know for a fact hates and despises you – act as if you are having the time of your life. If this person truly believes you and he are enemies, this will eat him up inside. (“Why is he so happy? Why aren’t my actions having any effect? What is he up to? What is he so obviously, gleefully up to to get back at me?”) This is an extension of the old adage: The best revenge is living well.

    You and I don’t agree on very many political issues, but I like the content of your blog and the quality of the discourse here. The more it becomes about Greg Aymond, the more he wins the exchange, in my opinion.

    After all, he has a blog and whoever wants to read what he thinks can go there.

    Stay strong brother.

    1. Ace, we may not agree on many political issues, but you’ve always been one of my absolute favorite commenters. It’s not easy to stand by whenever someone else publicly defames you or members of your family, but I totally agree: The best revenge is living well. Thank you, my friend. I will, henceforth, ignore it completely; I just had to get some things off of my chest. 😉

  5. Aymond is a very sad and lonely individual. How do I know? His blog reeks of loneliness and despiration with his ineffective jabs at you, Mayor Roy and his staff. With out those individuals to write or blog about, Aymond has no life or purpose. It is funny to see his claim of friendship with certain individuals and then when you run into those individuals and inquire about Aymond’s friendship they look at you like cows look at freight trains. I agree with the others that advise you to totally ignore the poor thing and he will just wither and die on the vine (his blog). In fact, I noticed very very few comments are posted following his topics which tells me that no one really gives a hoot about Ol’ Greg. He probably inhaled too much smoke from those burning crosses.

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