Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin speaks to us



"To the families of special needs children all across this country, I have a message for you. For years you've sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters and I pledge to you that if we're elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House".


Tomorrow, Republicans will be crowing about a lot of the great "lines" that were in Sarah Palin's speech.

Tomorrow, Democrats will be bashing the Republicans.

But tonight I rejoice that someone who will spend her life "walking the walk" of raising a child with special needs may end up having the ear of the President of the United States. The lines quoted above were heartfelt and spoken with a sincerity seldom heard from any politician.

If Sarah Palin doesn't win this election, I want to hire her as an advocate for our next IEP meeting. And as all of you who have gone to IEP's know, an advocate's job is at least as tough as being Governor any day.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

The McCain-Palin ticket has my vote.

Angie said...

Obama and Biden are the better candidates. I will vote Obama Biden, along with the majority of new voters.

CS said...

I have been working on a post dealing with Palin's actual deeds in special education, and education in general. I'll give you a hint, she has slashed special education funding during her time as governor. If you come up with any speech she has given that talks details, please let me know so I can add it. I can't find anything. I've found a lot of angry special needs parents ranting about her, but I'd like to seem a little more balanced but I just can't find anything positive.

kristenspina said...

This is going to be such an interesting election. As a longtime democrat, I have a hard time trusting anything the republicans have to say (most especially after the last eight years). I was, however, taken in by Palin last night. She was poised, sincere—but I fear her words were simply scripted, engineered to play on my emotions, uncertainty and concerns as a mother.

More needs to be known, about all the candidates. Words are fine, but like one of your commenters alluded to, where are the actions? Did Palin really slash educational funding? Is Obama really unqualified? Still, far too many questions for me to feel any sense of security.

Marla said...

I don't think having Palin in the White House will stop programs for people with disabilities from being cut. I hate to sound negative.

It seems like a ploy to get a sympathy vote to me.

Ange said...

That line to me was well-played, but I thought "your child is 4 months old" and then I thought "what will she advocate for?" At least Obama has some information detailed out that I can review (and that I agree with). I was unable to watch the democratic convention, but watched some last night and was taken aback, like I was watching witch trials or something. I thought Palin was a very good speaker, but my gut kept saying "you don't speak for me." I'm with "kristenspina"

lynne said...

CNN reported this morning that as Gov of Alaska she cut the state's special needs budget by 62%. I get nervous when campaign promises contradict prior actions.

Club 166 said...

@ Angie,

I certainly don't think that Obama is the devil incarnate or anything. I liked him enough to send him money and vote for him in the primary. I think he's a better person than Hillary. It's since then that I've had some reservations regarding his actual accomplishments. I'm feeling too much like he's purposely been totally bland (avoiding controversial legislature votes) and talking about things he's going to do, rather than what he's actually done.

@ CS,

You may be right (and I'm open to hearing evidence one way or the other), but if you had to pick the profile of two candidates who would instantly oppose the treatment at the Judge Rottenberg Center, I don't think you could come up with profiles better than an ex-POW who was tortured for 5 years and a special needs parent.

@ kristenspina,

Certainly most of her words were scripted (it was a political speech, after all). But I just felt that the special needs thing was something she added, and said from the heart. But I could be wrong. As an independent who's voted for candidates from both parties in the past, I'm still looking at both sides. I am encouraged that both McCain and Palin have histories of being mavericks in the Republican party.

@ Marla,

You may be right. But I just don't see a mother of a special needs kid being that callous.

@ ange,

I guess I didn't see her as "playing" that line. I admit that having a kid that's only 4 months old now doesn't give her much experience, but I know that she's getting more direct experience every day.

@ lynne

Did she cut existing budgets by 62%, or proposed increases by 62% (I don't know, just asking). There's a big difference. And I don't always believe CNN (aka "The Clinton News Network") when they come out with stuff. I'd like to get the whole story, and know how much she was cutting from the budget as a whole in order to balance it (all state budgets need to be balanced, as opposed to federal budgets).

Joe

CS said...

"Did she cut existing budgets by 62%, or proposed increases by 62%"

School budgets are on a yearly basis. She cut the budget 62% the first budget year she was governor and continued that cut in the 2nd year and in the proposed budget for 2009, after Trig was born I believe (I have a copy of the budgets which I will include in my post). I'm still investigating. If you can point to anything positive, please let me know so I can include it. I'm really trying hard to find something positive, but other than her speech, I haven't found anything. She just seems to be the standard right-winger, actually much different than McCain and this may be why he chose her, because she is the base of that party. She cut these budgets at a time Alaska's revenue shot through the roof too.

leila said...

Even if the fact that she now has a special needs child may make her more compassionate towards families like mine, the reality is that her party policy is to leave most of those families uninsured or not sufficiently insured. Her son will have his health needs taken care of, but that's not what's gonna happen to special needs babies born to teenage single moms in rural towns or ghettos all over this land, who won't have access to sex ed, birth control, family planning, or health insurance.

Meanwhile, Obama has a real plan to help families in need. He wants universal health care. And his best friend and one of the campaign leaders, has a son with autism.

I don't relate to Sarah Palin as the mother of a special needs child. She went back to work only 3days after Trig was born, prematurely. I had to fight office policies and lose money in order to have enough time to bond with and breastfeed my baby. The fact that she took no maternity leave is frightening. America's maternity leave legislation is the worse in the developed world, even worse than in Third World countries. I doubt that Sarah will fight for better maternity leave conditions in her administration.

CS said...

"Did she cut existing budgets by 62%, or proposed increases by 62%"

Joe, just out of curiosity, would it make a difference to you if the cuts were for proposed budgets or existing budgets? Do you think we spend too much money on special education or too little? I ask because the IDEA has never been fully funded as promised and this cuts across both parties.

dkmnow said...

I won't be putting any eggs in that basket.

http://www.citizensforethics.org/taxonomy/term/1389

http://www.andrys.com/palin-kilkenny.html

Donna said...

There are 3 class action lawssuits in Illinois. The same Illinois that Obama is a tenured state senator and a 3ish year federal senator.

They are on behalf of people with physical, developemental and mentally ill individuals.

Over and over Illinois has shown "institutional bias" in how they deal with any individual in that state who has a disability.

Yes, Obama put out a fetchy little statement, but nowhere does that statement on the Autism Society of America website or his website, reflect the many individuals with physical, developmental or mentally disabled who have been locked up in the many institutions and nursing homes in Illinois.

JRC is not the only place abuse can be found. It's rampant in Illinois.

Club 166 said...

@cs

Joe, just out of curiosity, would it make a difference to you if the cuts were for proposed budgets or existing budgets? Do you think we spend too much money on special education or too little? I ask because the IDEA has never been fully funded as promised and this cuts across both parties

Yes, it does make a difference. If they actually had a budget of $1,000,000 for one year, then had a budget of $380,000 the next, that would be different than if they had a budget of $1,000,000 one year, a proposed budget of $4,000,000 for the next year, but ended up only getting $1,520,000 (a 62% cut!) then that's a horse of a different color. I just want to know how much money they actually had one year, and then the next.

No, I don't think that special ed is sufficiently funded. I also don't think that local schools and parents get enough leeway in how those funds are spent. And yes, it does cut across both parties.

@ leila,

I'm not 100% in this camp yet, but McCain/Palin don't strike me as "typical" Republicans. My impression is most Republicans don't really like McCain, while most independents and even Dems liked him before they had a "true lefty" to put up against him. I think that sometimes many Dems/liberals hear the word "Republican" and then automatically tune out everything that happens after that (not accusing anyone here of doing that), assuming that "they're all the same".

To paraphrase one writer I saw somewhere-Both parties get it wrong. Democrats tend to throw hard working middle class people to the side of the road, Republicans tend to throw the poor and disabled there. I don't see anything right now (other than his rhetoric) to lead me to believe that Obama will be different. I though he might, before he went to a party hack like Biden. At least McCain and Palin have a history of reaching across the aisle and bucking their own party. It's only when all people are respected and included that we're going to get anywhere.

@ Donna,

In fairness to Obama, institutions everywhere are like that. JRC is only the worst offender and most upfront about it.

But it is somewhat telling that he can't point to any major legislation he sponsored to try and do the things he says he's now going to do.

Joe

Club 166 said...

@cs

Joe, just out of curiosity, would it make a difference to you if the cuts were for proposed budgets or existing budgets? Do you think we spend too much money on special education or too little? I ask because the IDEA has never been fully funded as promised and this cuts across both parties

Yes, it does make a difference. If they actually had a budget of $1,000,000 for one year, then had a budget of $380,000 the next, that would be different than if they had a budget of $1,000,000 one year, a proposed budget of $4,000,000 for the next year, but ended up only getting $1,520,000 (a 62% cut!) then that's a horse of a different color. I just want to know how much money they actually had one year, and then the next.

No, I don't think that special ed is sufficiently funded. I also don't think that local schools and parents get enough leeway in how those funds are spent. And yes, it does cut across both parties.

@ leila,

I'm not 100% in this camp yet, but McCain/Palin don't strike me as "typical" Republicans. My impression is most Republicans don't really like McCain, while most independents and even Dems liked him before they had a "true lefty" to put up against him. I think that sometimes many Dems/liberals hear the word "Republican" and then automatically tune out everything that happens after that (not accusing anyone here of doing that), assuming that "they're all the same".

To paraphrase one writer I saw somewhere-Both parties get it wrong. Democrats tend to throw hard working middle class people to the side of the road, Republicans tend to throw the poor and disabled there. I don't see anything right now (other than his rhetoric) to lead me to believe that Obama will be different. I though he might, before he went to a party hack like Biden. At least McCain and Palin have a history of reaching across the aisle and bucking their own party. It's only when all people are respected and included that we're going to get anywhere.

@ Donna,

In fairness to Obama, institutions everywhere are like that. JRC is only the worst offender and most upfront about it.

But it is somewhat telling that he can't point to any major legislation he sponsored to try and do the things he says he's now going to do.

Joe

CS said...

"But it is somewhat telling that he can't point to any major legislation he sponsored to try and do the things he says he's now going to do."

Not exactly true I think.

Isn't he a co-sponsor of the:

Community Choice Act of 2007

ADA Restoration Act

The Fair Home Health Care Act

The Help America Vote Act?

McCain has said he does not support any of these acts.

I could be wrong, but I believe the above is true.

Anonymous said...

I am a Republican who was going to vote for Bob Barr, yes, even if I had to write him in. I liked S.Palin's speech. A special needs child really gives one a new perspective. I've been thinking all day, "wow" "the things this woman could do for special needs and insurance, etc....." Sorry, but what is up on websites about what candidates are "going to do" doesn't impress me at all. You all can laugh at me, but I am one who votes and tries to make sane choices. maybe there are more people like me??? Sincerely, DianeG.

CS said...

" but I am one who votes and tries to make sane choices"

and those of us who follow disabilities legislation and vote based on a candidates stated positions and records would be what? Insane?

"wow" "the things this woman could do for special needs and insurance"

I hope you will read my post about what she has actually done as Governor and then match what she said and what she did.

leila said...

Joe, they're as Republican as they come... Sarah with all that "Iraq is a mission from God", "drill drill drill", abstinence only/no choice, just to mention a few things that she declared herself, fits perfectly in the GOP and that's why she energized the conservative crowd. The only difference is that she's slightly more good looking than the typical Republican politician.

And McCain has voted with Bush 90%, supported the war on Iraq from day one, and follows all those typical hawkish views of the party in terms of international policy.

VAB said...

Ask yourself which ticket will provide more support for the marginalized and more tolerance for diversity. Lots of people claim to be fighting for folks with special needs. Autism Speaks and the JRC are examples. A willingness to do something does no equal doing the right thing.

This is a mean and vindictive woman consorting with a party that had a record of intolerance and a tradition of refusing to share. Don't let a few words read from a teleprompter cloud your judgment.

Anonymous said...

I was not implying anything. That's why i don't usually comment or blog. Everything can be spun! I only meant that I have been driving Myself crazy for with whom to vote. DG

CS said...

Diane,

Read the following, along with Joe why we are at it and tell me what you think.

http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/DisabilityPlanFactSheet.pdf

I tried to find McCain's written position but was unable to. Perhaps others will have more success.

Ang said...

Wow, the comments here have certainly been colorful! (ahem)

One of the things that really gets me is the people who have absolutely rushed to criticize Sarah Palin about having a special needs child, but how she hasn't advocated enough yet. Her son is still an infant! Give her an opportunity here! Having a son with autism, I wasn't an advocate the day after we got the diagnosis. It takes time.. time to come to terms with the diagnosis, educating yourself, the grief process, etc. She's going to be an EXCELLENT advocate... you can just tell. Whether that's advocating for just her son, or for everyone with a special needs child still remains to be seen. But don't write her off just yet...

As for her speech - gosh yes, it was inspiring. But you know... all of these convention speeches are. That's what they do. They are written by the best speech writers money can buy. We all have to look beyond the words on the teleprompter and see what the plans are, who has "teeth" behind what they are saying, and who can actually deliver.

I still haven't made up my mind yet on who to vote for in November, but with Palin on the ticket, it's definitely making me look much harder at the Republicans.

Club 166 said...

@ CS,

I have looked at that in the past (I wouldn't have sent him money and voted for him without checking him out).

Obviously I like what's written there. But as much as you point out what hasn't been done by Repubs, I think Obama's rhetoric far outstrips what he's done.

I do think that it's quite possible that a VP who lives with a disabled child as part of her family every day will be more likely to have a sustained interest in disability issues.

Joe

Club 166 said...

@ leila,

They're Republicans?? Really?? :)

I know they're Repubs, but both are cut from a different mold than the mainstream ones (each in their own way).

I think that a McCain administration would be less likely to engage in wars without good reason (I generally think that it's more likely that someone who's actually seen the horror of war will want to avoid it). He's no Bush. But I also think that it is a dangerous world, and that we're lucky that we haven't been attacked again after 9-11.

I do think that failing to achieve energy independence after the 1970's oil embargo was a big mistake. And I think that we need to do so now. If we are energy independent, we'll be a lot less likely to get involved in future wars in the Middle East.

As part of achieving energy independence, I think that we do need to "drill, drill, drill". We also need to encourage conservation, develop wind, solar, and other alternative fuels. The Dem platform of achieving energy independence without new drilling is a pipe dream.

Joe

Club 166 said...

@ VAB,

Politicians make enemies along the way (especially if they upset the prevailing apple carts).

But I wonder how "mean and vindictive" a person can be and still maintain a 80% approval rating.

Joe

Cs said...

Joe,

You can drill every drop of oil out of the US and it still won't satisfy our need for fossil fuels. That's a fact.

What also scares me about this election is that we are one supreme court justice away from living in a very different world, one that makes me fearful for the disadvantaged and minority in this country. Rights of privacy, choice, education, etc could be in jeopardy. The poor are getting poorer, larger as a percentage of our population. Families are struggling mightily to survive economically. The workplace is becoming more hostile to families as well. We are getting closer to total corporate governance. Throw in some religious fanaticism and this place is really beginning to be some sort of strange Blade Runner world full of fear politics, division and inequality.

Both Bushes had 80% approval ratings at certain times in their terms.

nicocoer said...

I agree with those who have mentioned her cuts to Special Education and Supports Services. To me, it says that she is out of touch with the realities of being disabled or being a family memeber of a disabled person in the Lower- and Middle-class.

She's new to the game of being a Parent of a Disabled Child, and I think that she's not at the point where she realizes on an internal level the implications.

That being said, I applaud her choice to keep Trig, and that she used the prenatal testing not to abort him but instead to prepar herself for him and his (potential) unique needs. He looks to be a Beautiful little boy, and I hope that she supports him in his future. :)

Daisy said...

Unfortunately, her positions on important issues are completely opposite to mine. We might bond as mothers of disabled children, but the minute we start discussing teaching evolution or banning books....the swords would come out.

nicocoer said...

@ Daisy:

Completely agree with you, I'm afraid. Setting aside the Special Needs thing, NONE of her platform points sit well with me. (Then again, I am a liberal and 1st Amendment person so. . . )

farmwifetwo said...

She's pro - no health care for those "others", pro - no abortion even if your daughter was raped or incest, pro - no birth control.

And the Nanny is raising the child.

Sure thing... NOT!!!!

Obama's good friend and one of his staff has a child with Autism. Kristina (Autism Vox) had a post this past week. Will probably be in her week ending summary today or tomorrow.

S.

Phil Schwarz said...

Joe, I'm sorry, but the notion that McCain's years in the Hanoi Hilton will make him more receptive to doing something about the JRCs of the world is faulty. It hinges upon a critical assumption that he'd consider the two circumstances at all similar. I don't think he's particularly free of the boatload of assumptions and foregone conclusions the majority of our society has about what's acceptable for severely disabled people (moreover, severely disabled people who are described as "behavior problems"). For that matter, I don't see Palin being particularly free of such assumptions and foregone conclusions. Trig is only 4 months old. Let's see how she navigates the course of his life with him over the next several years and whether any aspect of that produces any epiphanies for her. Given the rest of her record and the tone of what she's said so far I'm skeptical.

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe,
I went to fact check dot org to look up info. on Sarah Palin cutting special education funding. They have a whole page of questions answered. Sincerely, DianeG.

leila said...

Here are the answers on the book censorship attempt, religious fanaticism and intimidation of the librarian, courtesy of ABC News:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZII0GjcJMus

J said...

Hmm, I haven't done a post about Palin yet, but have seen a lot of posts about her by parents who have children with special need. You and your commenters have good points. There is certainly a lot to think about before voting day!

Anonymous said...

Here are the FACTS. Palin did NOT cut funding for special ed students by 62% - in fact she increased it the per pupil expenditure by 175% . I LEFT Illinois because of the pitiful services, which Obama did nothing about as either a state or US Senator. Nothing. In fact, he is actually responsible for the election of the inept and crony corruption at his worst Todd Stroger as head of the Cook County Commission who, in an effort to hire hacks and flacks and cronies CUT funding significanty for people with developmental disabilities. As someone who lived in Chicago and watched Obama at work I can tell you the guy is an empty suit and an active participant in the machine politics that run the city.

Mrs. C said...

Public schools ABUSED MY AUTISTIC CHILD and I'd like to see them funded as little as possible, and have as little power as possible. In fact, I'd like to see the public school system either disbanded completely or funded LOCALLY so that it is answerable to local people rather than bureaucrats in Washington. So there you go. That fiscal idea wouldn't make me less of a special-needs parent, I wouldn't imagine.

I think that Obama, McCain and gang can all GENUINELY CARE about the needs of the disabled but differ on how to help. I think Obama has a moral failing in that he supports the "right" to abort children the parents think are imperfect (eugenics, anyone?), but some of the smears his campaign has suffered haven't been fair. Whoever wins, I think really America is great enough to be able come through it all OK. God bless America, too, as we all pray about how to vote.

Club 166 said...

@leila,

I'm not going to go into political aspects, as I'm trying to stay away from those, but thought I'd provide some links to resources regarding something you wrote:

"...Her son will have his health needs taken care of, but that's not what's gonna happen to special needs babies born to teenage single moms in rural towns or ghettos all over this land, who won't have access to sex ed, birth control, family planning, or health insurance. ..."

In terms of sex ed, birth control, and family planning, not only are there usually city and county health clinics, there's always Planned Parenthood.

In terms of health care for children, all states have children's health care programs that even working parents, single or otherwise, can take advantage of. There are also other programs such as WIC that provide nutritional assistance during and after pregnancy.

These are the things that come to mind off the top of my head. There are also many private agencies that provide assistance, such as Catholic Charities and Lutheran Child and Family Services (I know that there are also similar Jewish agencies, but can't recall their names at present).

Joe

nicocoer said...

Joe-

those programs are wonderful- but the reality is that they are under funded and in-efficiently managed at local, state, and national levels.

Example from my area:
1) nearest Planned Parenthood: Youngstown, Ohio (out of state) at 55.76 mi; In state: Moon Township at 65.15 mi
2) Local clinic is open for walk ins at hours restricted so that Teens are unable to use this feature as they are durring school hours. Many young people would rather do without contraceptives than admit to their parents that they are sexually active Additionally, if you are over the age of 18, it stops being free.
3) That is only for reproductive health services, and is limited- and is a PRIVATE CLINIC. No real general health clinic is offered, although we are putting together a dental clinic thanks to the Salvation Army.

The fact is that many of the services that are taken without notice in Urban and Suburban areas are virtually non-existant in Rural America.

While I applaud the children's insurence programs, many people who are forced to use them find that they cover EXTREMELY limited things, and are left with debt. In all honestly, state provided insurence for children is NOT designed for special needs children- it's designed to serve in an emergency for your average child.

Quite Simply, the funding isn't there, and since that is the topic in question here I'm confused as to why you've mentioned the publically funded stuff as proof of not needing the additional funds. :-/

As for the numerous religiously funded agencies, locally (although I'm aware that this is not national or international policy for the organizations) they want you to convert to their faith. This is insulting for Anyone of another faith, and it makes me uncomfortable- pressuring a person to convert in order to get services is blatently wrong from where I stand.

Club 166 said...

I don't think the services provided are optimal, and I agree that they are underfunded. But your original post seemed to imply that there were absolutely no resources available, and I haven't found that to be true. Services in rural areas are usually the ones least well off, as you have pointed out, while urban and suburban ones usually are quite adequate.

In regards faith based agencies, I've known Jewish friends who received services from Catholic Charities, and neither conversion nor any discussion regarding religion was ever undertaken. I guess their experience was different than their's.

Joe

nicocoer said...

Oh, so there was a misunderstanding. :D your response makes more sense now.

I'm very very glad that you have people who are more accepting running the ministries in your area! that's awesome. I hope that that attitude (which I understand is SUPPOSED to be organization wide?) spreads to the less tolerant areas. :)

What I meant in my original post is that need is far graver than many people realize, and is not met adequeately by funding or services. To say that the resources DON'T exist would be foolish of anyone to say- but if they are inaccessible to the people that need them, if they are managed poorly, if they are denied to those that need them most because the very system to acquire them is un-navigable for those with severe cognitive, intellectual, and mental health disabilities- in that case, then there is something wrong. If a need isn't being met, we need to ask why- and support the solutions that will bridge the gap.

:)

Club 166 said...

...but if they are inaccessible to the people that need them, if they are managed poorly, if they are denied to those that need them most because the very system to acquire them is un-navigable for those with severe cognitive, intellectual, and mental health disabilities- in that case, then there is something wrong. If a need isn't being met, we need to ask why- and support the solutions that will bridge the gap. ..."

I couldn't agree more!

Joe