Okay, so I’m a liberal-conservative (in that order) independent voter. I believe strongly in the value of not voting down party lines, in listening to every speaker, in listening to every debate and every speech. I should say, I was an independent voter. As the mother of two children with disabilities, I simply cannot forgive what Sarah Palin did tonight.
I can forgive a lot of things. In fact, I expect to have to where politicians are concerned. Most politicians lie, cheat, steal their way into office, then lie, cheat, and steal some more. In the process, some really good things happen and some really bad things happen. I’m opposed to the war in Iraq (which we all know is NOT any closer to victory than it was six months ago), but I support the war in Afghanistan. I’m opposed to abortion, but don’t believe that a 13-year old should be forced to have a child. I believe in evolution—and I believe in creationism. I believe that more government is bad. I believe that less government is also bad. I believe strongly in gay rights and equal pay for equal work (the latter being a problem that I also believe is over-exaggerated) and minority rights, but I also believe in tough immigration laws and enforcement. I want—no, I need, access to health insurance. I also want our country to be a safe place to live. I’m the perfect independent voter. Or I was.
The one thing that really gets me going is disability rights. The disability rights movement is the slowest moving movement in America. While the American people have rallied around women’s rights and minority rights and religious rights, they’ve left children and adults with disabilities far behind in their thoughts. People with disabilities NEED an influential representative. Sarah Palin IS NOT IT.
Sarah Palin has done NOTHING for people with disabilities—EVER. Like a true politician, it wasn’t even an issue until she had a child with a disability—and even then it wasn’t an issue until she was nominated for the vice presidency. 2) She has yet to even understand the difficulty ahead of her. Is a child with a disability “a gift from God?” Yes, I can honestly say that I believe they are. But ONLY if you take the time to live with them and learn from them and get to know them—not spend the first five years of their life working 80+ hours a week. AND raising a child with a disability is hard work. For those us without the benefit of a government job with perfect benefits or steady employment with above average pay, it’s also a tremendous financial challenge. And it requires time and a willingness to sacrifice your own selfish wants (and even needs) in order to attend IFSP or IEP meetings, visits to various doctor’s and specialists, planning to obtain the very expensive tools your child needs to thrive in a world that does not believe they have the ability—or the right—to thrive. These are things that Sarah Palin doesn’t know the first thing about, things that she CAN’T know anything about. And if she thinks she’s going to win all the moms and all the caregivers and all the special education professionals simply by flouting the fact that she *has* a young child with a disability, she is absolutely, 100% wrong.
For the time being, I’m only going to vote Democrat. She keeps opening her mouth, and I might not be such an independent after all.
My children are not tools for you to use, Sarah Palin. And if you look close enough, you’ll find that yours aren’t either.