Friday, October 17, 2008

The Backlash Continues, Part 2

It's ironic that by trying to connect with people dealing with special needs, McCain pissed off so many of them.

Christy Everett explains why she was offended in her blog post, "I Know Nothing About Special Needs." She explains, "Yes, my son Elias has multiple disabilities that affect his balance, movement, vision, communication, and breathe, and yes I’ve immersed myself in the disability world by reading books, blogs, articles, laws, and enough bureaucratic paperwork to fill a truck, but I am merely a tourist in this world, hoping to learn the culture so I can advocate for my son. I can’t claim to be an expert. I’m not even an insider. I’m just a mom who loves her child. For McCain to say that Sarah Palin 'understands special needs better than almost any American I know' just shows how out of touch he is with the disability community."

Christy is not just another parent living with the challenges of raising a child with special needs. She's a dedicated advocate who happens to live in that state "up north," as Gov. Palin like to say -- Alaska. In an emotional blog post back on Sept. 13, she reflected on her multiple meetings with Palin to advocate for funding to eliminate the long waiting list of nearly 1,000 Alaskans with developmental disabilities who are in need of treatment. She said she cried when she heard Palin announce at the Republican Convention that she would be an advocate for children.

But then she continues: "And now that the crowd has dispersed and the lights have been turned down, I find myself wondering how you could make this pledge when so many Alaskan families wait for the support they need. Especially with a state budget with billions of dollars in surplus. I know disabilities is not a mainstream issue. Not nearly as hot a topic as soaring prices at the pump. And so you pay each Alaskan an energy rebate, a one-time check of a little over a thousand dollars. I hope the big-screen TVs are worth it."

Since the time she wrote this, her opinion of Palin has continued to sink. Not surprisingly, Christy is among a large number of Alaskans, special-needs parents, and advocates who are voting for Sen. Obama.
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