reflections related to disability advocacy, family and (needed) cultural change
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Sarah Palin, Election '08 and More
My mind is reeling—it’s the first week of school, there’s going to be this election soon (have you heard?), my own busy-ness is swallowing time AND I have a thousand things I want to say!!!! Where do I start????
Sarah Palin: OK, she gives a good speech, but so do I… not enough. She has a baby with a disability—I do think this candidacy offers some lovely exposure for disability issues, but to influence my vote I would need to know her views on the value and citizenship/membership in our society of adults with disabilities. Babies, as challenging as new diagnoses and medical concerns may be, are the easy part.
What does “friend and advocate” really mean to the 22 year old guy who is being denied community choices who must move to a nursing home or institution—at 1/3 higher cost to the taxpayer and 99% less quality of life for him? What does it mean to the 75% unemployment rate for people with disabilities? To folks who need healthcare?
McCain: Have you seen or heard anything different from McCain’s folks about disability since Palin has stepped on board? They still don’t have their disability stance on their website—now they have Sarah Palin and Madeleine Will on their team. What is holding them back??
I fear they are beholden to others who are not in favor of a real disability policy… and I can’t see how election will improve that. I hope they show me otherwise.
I think Obama chose Biden because of his experience, I think McCain didn’t feel he needed anyone’s experience, he needed their appeal. I would like to see how he intends to respond to Palin’s influence because if he doesn’t, she is incidental at best.
Issues: I don’t vote on abortion alone. I don’t vote on $$ alone either. There is a cost for living in a great place. Freedom ain’t free as the saying goes. Since money is going to be spent there must be value—for the people in our communities. Show me value.
Life on the Spectrum: The book Crucial Conversations calls either/or thinking a “sucker’s choice” and says never fall for it. I tell people in advocacy talks that all or nothing circumstances don’t exist. • We do not have to have exactly the healthcare system we have now OR something completely awful—those are NOT the only two choices. • We do not have to accept inaccessibility OR fall into economic rack and ruin. • We do not have to be all in-Iraq OR all out-of-Iraq. There is actually no issue that I have heard discussed that is the all or nothing situation that is portrayed. Every issue offers a spectrum of options and choices.
Characterizations: What is up with jumping from discussing issues to personal insults?? Several discussions I have heard or read begin with people saying why they like their idea for solving one of the world’s problems, which is good. Somewhere in the mix somebody derails and says “Oh, that’s because you don’t believe in personal responsibility.” Or, “Oh that’s because you’re a rigid conservative.”
Somehow a person who hears something they don’t like thinks name-calling exempts them from having to listen, maybe? Or, in the case of talk-show hosts, if you’re not getting enough oomph from your points, driving up the drama keeps the listeners, maybe??
Ugly, either way.
Damage: I am beginning to think that elections can be as damaging to the fabric of society as any war, environmental issue, moral dilemma, economic concern, natural disaster or homeland security issue could ever be.
I am wondering what Solomon, in the Old Testament would have done if the two moms fighting over the baby had both said to go ahead and split him.
• Polarizing rhetoric divides us against each other. • Characterizations poison our relationships making us less able to work together. • All or nothing positioning makes applying our American creativity and know-how to problems impossible. I want to know which candidate has the best post-election healing plan—we are going to need it.
Negativity: Remember the bell curve. I mentioned this in a comment a bit ago, but I think it bears repeating. Al Condeluci, in his talk about inclusion, points out that all the world is a bell curve: 20% positive gate-keepers, 20% negative gate-keepers and the 60% in between “waiting to be seduced.”
The folks engaging in these issues on line and on TV are from the 2 ends. If the positive folks drop out due to the nastiness, the only voices the 60% with potential will hear are the negative ones. Hang tough, believers—you matter.
I am the mother of three, wife of one. I am a Partners in Policymaking graduate and a committed disability advocate. I want to catch up on my scrapbooking, learn more about art-journaling, get my house in order, read all the books I have set aside to read and change the world--not necessarily in that order. The opinions in this blog are my own and not those of any of employers.