vs. Sarah Palin’s opportunistic use of her new son as a mere talking point. It’s not clear that she slashed funds. She moved budget items around. I am still looking for information on the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy where shifted money. Can a person with disabilities that made use of services and programs in Alaska tell us more? I am not convinced that having a 4 month old with Down’s Syndrome suddenly makes you an able advocate for the disabled. It sounds nice but in reality it doesn’t always work out that way.
I say this as a person who has disabled family members, and as a person having a few to deal with myself and as a person who for four years after graduating was a worker in a computer lab for adults with disabilities. We served people with all kinds of disabilities, physical, mental and those resulting from brain injury. It was an incredibly diverse classroom, including people who had strong support systems and people who were homeless due to the pressures of living with a disability. My life did not teach me that the non-disabled in my family or anyone’s became competent advocates for children OR adults with disabilities. It may mean you are more sympathetic, it may not.
It doesn’t mean you automatically understand the perspective of a person with a disability or disabilities much better, or that you advocate for independence, autonomy, civil-rights and community living for adults living with disability. Ask any adult with disabilities you know.
I don’t see in Palin an immediate ally. I see her as a newbie and -potential- ally.
Also, if you go to the McCain-Palin site there is no section addressing disabilities, with the exception of two paragraphs on autism. There are a lot more people in the disability community than just our friends with autism, Mr. McCain. Iraq Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq give him a D on veterans issues, which of course, includes the treatment of veterans returning with serious injuries, disabilities and VA issues.
Obama does have a section on is site, and addresses the issues our family has struggled with for decades very well. He displays the acumen of someone has thought about and discussed the issues facing disabled people – with actual real adult disabled people. That’s a huge difference. It’s one thing to be sympathetic and its another to carry the program developed by disabled activists forward. He’s not perfect, but at least he lists disabilities with all the other critical issues we face. If you don’t think that is critical, please note that 70% of us will be disabled for some or all of our lives.
I wish Palin well with the process and the journey of raising Trig and defending her sons interests in education, science and autonomy. She’s new to the battle though and has a LOT to learn.
Cross posted on DailyKos (more discussion there)
And another great DailyKos diary here