After the Republican National Convention was over and Sarah Palin left us so energized and excited about the possibility of having a friend and an advocate in the White House, our sky was looking absolutely red not blue. So the first thing I did was to try to learn more about what the McCain-Palin ticket stance on different issues was, specifically on disability rights and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
First I went to McCain's website, and bunched up with some other programs he mentions IDEA, in a page for Early Education with no specifics. Then I did a search and the only related link that came back was the early education page I already seen. The word "disability" only pops up in relation to veterans. They haven't addressed the issue of funding IDEA and lack any specific plans, hmmmm...
On Obama's page, I was surprised to find the word "Disabilities" listed in the Issues menu, right alongside education, the economy, and Iraq. Click on that and at the bottom there is a link for a PDF to see his full Disabilities Plan. Open it and you can read: "BARACK OBAMA’S PLAN TO EMPOWER AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES", Providing Americans with Disabilities Educational Opportunities: Fully Funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities, Support Universal Screening, and it goes on and on. Pretty impressive.
I was dumbfounded. Why doesn't McCain have a plan on how they will increased funds for programs to help people with disabilites? The McCain-Palin ticket has not specified yet how they are going to help the more than 44 million people with disabilities.
I applaud Sarah Palin for using her office to help families who need it and raising the funds per disable child by almost double and increasing funds for several other disability programs in the state of Alaska. Her personal experience as a mother of a child with a disability is inspiring, as inspiring as the story of any mother of a disable child. There is no doubt that she has increased the visibility of the disability community, especially of the Down Syndrome community, the one that has been very vocal with admiration and criticism. Personally, I love seeing Trig up on stage being passed around without shame, being cuddled and loved (and his hair licked by his baby sister!!!). How wonderful it is to see the face of Down syndrome all over the news.
So Sarah, we are all waiting for a specific plan. How proactive will the McCain-Palin administration be on disability issues?
I do want to believe in Palin. Wouldn't it be wonderful to celebrate the first ever woman VP, to have Trig crawling around all over the White House, and to raise the visibility of DS to a level that none of us could have ever possibly imagined? We can only hope that the McCain-Palin disabilities plan looks anything, if not better than, what Obama is offering at this time. If nothing else, Down syndrome is on a lot of peoples minds and Palin is certainly responsible for an exposure effect that is necessary.
Please take a look at this report by Katie Couric:
And some more important details that were edited out...
Sound familiar? Almost identical to what Jen was trying to explain in the article in Kidaround magazine.