There is no doubt in my mind that Palin delivered an excellent speech with the poise and confidence of a true politician. It was energizing, inspiring, and invigorating. She was well spoken and knew exactly how to address her constituents while still appealing to the ever courted Independent, Libertarian, and Undecided voter demographics. She had me on the edge of my seat, and much like many other Americans, hanging on to her every word.
We were so blessed in April. Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world. A perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig.
You know, from the inside, no family ever seems typical, and that’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys. Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love.
To the families of special needs – (crowd rises to its feet applauding) –- to the families of special needs children all across this country, I have a message for you.
For years you’ve sought to make a 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. (cheers)
But what did we hear?
Government is too big ... he (Obama) wants to grow it...What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger...
Other pivotal issues facing the disability community are job training and accommodations, employment opportunities, transition programs, independent and group housing programs, access to therapies and medical care through medicaid, and Social Security. Or rather shall I say the cycle of poverty system commonly referred to as Social Security; one which allows for a maximum monthly benefit of $637.00 providing an applicant isn't receiving more than $940.00 in other funds nor has more than $2000.00 of assets to their name. The $637 figure is based on no other income sources, and the more that an applicant receives in other monies will directly reduce the amount received through Supplemental Social Security. That monetary amount may also, at the state's discretion, be further reduced for programs and housing received.
I fail to see how, considering the deficiencies that people with disabilities are faced with today, anyone promising disability advocacy in the climate of now, could ever disavow Big Government. Really - why in the world would anybody from the disability community want to reduce the relatively small investment our government is making in the disability community.
So, that leads me to question what exactly Sarah Palin, as a self proclaimed advocate for "special needs families" defines as Big Government. It is also important to note that while Governor Palin is against Big Government, she is Pro-Life even in the extreme cases of rape and incest. The only exemption Governor Palin supports to her Pro-Life stance is a doctor's determination that a pregnancy would end (mind you not harm) the life of the mother. She also is also against gay marriage. The abortion and lifestyle debates aside, I would suggest that criminalizing reproduction freedom and excluding an entire demographic of citizens from the legal rights of marriage is, by definition, Big Government. I fail to understand how government can get any bigger once it has legislated what can and cannot occur inside the bodies of half of its' population. A population which includes the disability community, some of whom may face unique medical challenges (though not necessarily life threatening) in the event of pregnancy. And before I go any father, please let me be very careful with my words. The point I am trying to make (albeit likely poorly) is not about the right to life, the right to abortion, or the right to marry, but instead the result of federal regulation of personal decisions, some of which have long been considered outside the realm of governmental control. The result namely being what I would define as Big Government.
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.
But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart.
Major issues for persons with disabilities include getting a quality education, access to community-based quality residential living services (including housing and transportation) and getting a meaningful job which offers some economic self-sufficiency.
As you decide who will get your vote in November, learn where candidates stand on these important issues by asking questions. Start by asking candidates if they have a written position statement on disability policies. (If they don’t have one, ask why and offer to share your expertise as a parent or family member of a person with Down syndrome on critical issues that your family faces.)...
Education and Employment
Prior to 1971, public schools had no obligation to educate children with disabilities and many did not. The Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees all children the right to a free and appropriate public education in the school they would otherwise attend if they did not have disabilities. The goal of education for all individuals is to prepare them for a meaningful career, economic self-sufficiency and a meaningful life in the community. Despite the fact that this law was passed over 30 years ago, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities remains at about 90 percent.
Question for Candidates
• What do you think should be done to improve the quality of educational services to students with disabilities?
• What would you do to improve employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities?
Community Living Services for Adults with Disabilities
The federal/state Medicaid program funds most adult services such as housing, transportation and support staff who provide assistance to individuals with disabilities with the activities of daily living. It also provides services to some children with disabilities. It is a funding stream that is biased towards costlier institutional care and under siege at the federal and state levels.
If you want those safety-net services to be in place when your child grows up — or to remain in place if your family member with Down syndrome now uses them — then you need to know where candidates stand on funding adult services.
Question for Candidates
• What would you do to bring the Medicaid program in line with the goal of full community participation for individuals with disabilities?
• What would you do to ensure that federal and state budget shortfalls do not harm programs for individuals with disabilities?
• What do you see as the role of the federal government in disability policy?
• What do you think of the trend to limit the role of the federal government in disability policy?
• Most Medicaid dollars go to support long-term care for the elderly, not services to individuals with disabilities.
• From 2002-2004, per person Medicaid spending rose 6.7%, almost half the rate of the private market (12.5%) despite serving a sicker and needier population. Medicaid covers people with the greatest needs and its funding is essential to the nation’s public health infrastructure.
But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent's plan