Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I Never Understood This

So obviously, the race for President has caught my eye and my interest. One thing I never really understood is the desire for either party to "diss" the other. And yes, I have sat here for 10 minutes trying to find a better word than diss -which is probably not even a word, and if it is, I'm probably too old to be using it.

I really don't get the television commercials from McCain's camp telling me what is wrong with Obama and from Obama's camp telling me what is wrong with McCain.

Quite frankly, I'm hoping one of them will convince me to vote FOR them, not AGAINST the other guys. Our right to vote is far too important to exercise than to waste it on the lesser of two evils - we have the responsibility to vote for the candidate we feel is right, not the one who is less wrong.

Don't waste your time and money campaigning against your opponent; spend your time campaigning for yourself.

Perhaps its because I can relate to her so much as a mother and a woman, and perhaps because she has a child with Down syndrome, but so many people have felt compelled to share their opinion of Sarah Palin with me.

I am terribly undecided now, and her nomination certainly does not "seal the deal" for me, so I don't believe that I am particularly defending her over anyone else.

But, geez Louise, I've seen some funny ironic, not funny haha, stuff about her in the last week. One of the first comments that struck me was the big announcement that her speech was written for her. Speech writing is big biz in the political world, and I would venture to guess that not too many speakers at either convention wrote their own speeches without any help.

And then there's talk about how is she possibly going to raise a family and be a good Mom if she is VP. Probably much the same way Obama is going to raise a family and be a good Dad if he is President. Are we really that archaic that we think that she cannot do both?

Shouldn't we worry more about the mom who is working two jobs just to feed her family? Who is barely making ends meet, and who has no choice? Perhaps one of the considerations of our vote should be how to help that family; how to make their lives a little easier and a little safer.

And, of course, there's Trig. Probably most of my friends who have children with T21 have watched her a little more closely and with a little more scrutiny because she is one of "us."

Certainly, being the mother of a child with special needs does not make you a superhero. It doesn't soar you above other moms, or instantly impart you with amazing infallibility. Some rise to the ocassion, some do not.

Will she be supportive of families raising a child with special needs? Will she be the answer? I don't know. I don't know if Obama will either - one of the reasons I am still undecided.

But, at the very least, I hope she has brought to the forefront one very important lesson for people to see. Families that love and embrace a child with Down syndrome are just like other families - perfect and imperfect. Life goes on, and we each embrace our own sense of normal and adjust life as we need to - but we do that for each child we welcome, regardless of chromosome count.

I've read blogs where people have said she will never understand what it is like to be a typical mother of a child with Down syndrome; after all, who is going to deny the governor, or the Vice President, services for her child?

But, you know, there is also some alienation that she will experience that us "regular" moms will not. Most likely, she will not be showing up for playgroups without being recognized; she won't be able to freely post on a public board for support like I do.

She is very early on in the journey to raising a child with Down syndrome; but I suspect she is feeling the same things that all of us felt at that stage - trepidation and joy, all at the same time.

Regardless of where this campaign takes her, I think it will be a good thing for the Down syndrome community.

I enjoyed watching her speak; I like her feistiness, and that "I am woman, hear me roar" attitude. I like that she shook things up a little.

I hope that she is not dismissed for any of the reasons I've seen her criticized for - dismiss her for her politics, not because she is a mom, or a woman or the mom of a child with special needs.

In the meantime, I have no idea who in the heck I will vote for. And I am so waiting to be convinced...

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