Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blog Carnival #44: Superlatives: Serendipitest and Sarah Palin

Blog Carnival #44 is up.

Well, since yesterday morning I have been busy making up words to describe the situation that the disability community is suddenly in…

Of all the words I have tried, I think “serendipitest” is my favorite! As in, the 2008 Presidential Election is the serendipitest situation the disability community has ever been in! (My son says my poetic license is about to be revoked!)

But seriously folks—is this not an amazing opportunity?

For those of you who slept through yesterday, Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska—who has a child with Down syndrome—has been named as McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

So now we have a candidate whose stance on disability is detailed on his website, and the other candidate who has not posted a position on disability, but is running with the parent of a child with a disability… hmmmm….

Whether you favor the Democrats or the Republicans in this election, these candidates and the publicity that will surround them present a GREAT opportunity to increase exposure and understanding.

Already today the national press has exposed the country’s ignorance about disability in general and about Down syndrome specifically. We have heard the all kinds of ‘person last’ and ‘person missing’ descriptions. We have heard ever-so-objective reporting about Down syndrome using words like “afflicted” and “suffering with” (bleah!)

And, in a failed attempt to be Relevant (with a capital R) Katie Couric and her co-newsperson discussed whether having a son with Down syndrome made Mrs. Palin unfit for office.


I am not at all sure that being the parent of a baby with a disability QUALIFIES a person for office by itself, but I am quite certain it doesn’t DISQUALIFY them…..

They had to say something… I guess.

Folks, this is a “sticky” moment. We have laid groundwork with years of building inclusion in our communities, we stirred the pot a bit with visible protests of Tropic Thunder this summer. The world is ready to hear from us.

I wrote a post on making waves a few weeks ago: well the waves are rolling in, if we stand up now we can surf our way to some new understanding. Presence, and Credence, builds Influence, which leads to more Presence…..and more Credence… yielding more Influence… and so on!

To the credit of the National Down Syndrome Congress and National Down Syndrome Society they put out a press release with accurate information about Down syndrome and person-first language yesterday.

Last night I saw video of institutions in Serbia—do you think having the parent of a child with a disability running for a national office could show new possibilities to people in other countries?

It could if we used it that way.

If you have been planning public awareness campaigns, release them now.

If you formed some new relationships during your protest of Tropic Thunder, pull folks back together and plan some next steps.

Self-advocates and parents and professionals alike: flood your newspaper with letters and essays.

Publicize your regular events—especially the fun ones—wouldn’t hurt to fundraise now either!

Yup, I’m going with serendipitest!

Picture from here.


Anonymous said...

And at the same time today is a sad day with so many blogs, news commentaters and articles demeaning Palin for choosing to have a child with disabilities. I am ashamed and saddened by all of those who say that it is irresponsible to have a child with a disability instead of having an abortion. When did the democratic party became so prejudiced and mean?

We have to educate the public in regards to what a challenge and blessing is to have a child with disabilities instead of being something to be ashamed of.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Terri, excellent post. I can't help but wonder why the last commenter was anonymous. Did you see the post by Tammy at 5minutes?

Mrs. Palin's candicacy is really a decisive issue for people. I traced this awful post to the source - it's a long url - but to realize the extreme opinions of some, see this:

Terri said...

Thank you both for your comments. I went through blogsearch and only found one really negative post so far (the same one you found, Barbara.)

I try to keep in mind that life is a bell curve. 20% are positive, 20% are negative and 60% are "waiting to be seduced" as phenomenal speaker Al Condelucci says.

The folks weighing in on everything are usually from the two extremes. Sometimes the positives go into hiding because the negatives are so vile--but when this happens the only voices that the 60% with potential hear are the negatives...

Can't let that happen! Take heart, hang tough, and spread the message for all you are worth!

aoc gold said...

Bed In Summer


In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light. 。

In summer quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.


I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people's feet

Still going past me in the street. 。


And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

-----by wow powerleveling

People Pusher said...

You posted on my blog, the People Pusher. I would like to contact you personally. Can you send me an email at

Terri said...

I really don't understand why the poem from A Child's Garden of Verses was left here--though it was a favorite when I was a child and I loved reading it to my own kids.

People Pusher, I did comment on your blog and I have e-mailed you. Hope I'm not in your junk-filter! T-