i am a die hard democrat from illinois and have been a proud obama supporter from the first time i saw him speak at the DNC four years ago. i've been really interested in politics since college and the debacle of 2000, when i actually lived with two GWB supporters, who both realized the errors of their ways and i believe voted dem in 2004. :)
my first reactions to the announcement that palin was mccain's running mate were 1) wow, he picked a woman (intrigue), and 2) wow, he picked a woman (disgust). disgust quickly won out on intrigue. in my opinions, mccain is playing a game- he's trying to reach out to the undecided female voters who may be uninformed, naive, or (for lack of a better term) ignorant. i don't mean that as a slam again women - i mean that, in general, i think americans are ignorant and uninformed as it pertains to politics. i think a lot of people align themselves with their politics and beliefs for the wrong reasons. they think "she's a woman/a mom/a parent of a child with special needs - she's going to fight for me", and that's the end of it. they don't look at her record - having cut funding for special education and sex education in alaska, for starters. in my opinions, this "game" that mccain is playing is a slap in the fact to women. maybe i'm looking into it too much, but as the days wear on, it makes me more and more angry that mccain thinks women are going to bite at his bait.
the only night of the RNC i watched was the night palin spoke, because yes, i was still a little bit intrigued. i don't necessarily want to say she shouldn't have accepted the nomination because she's a mother, or because her son has down syndrome, or because her daughter's pregnant, but putting myself in her shoes, i can't imagine having five kids, a very young child who will have a lifetime of special needs, and a grandchild on the way, and thinking this is a good time to advance my career. i know everyone has their own goals and priorities, and i don't necessary slam her for doing so, i just know that if i were in her position, i don't think the timing would be right.
so anyways, i watched her speech just to see what she was all about. i wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, even though there was no way they were getting my vote.
when she played the special needs card, my jaw fell on the floor and i'm sure my blood pressure went through the roof. this is what she said: "To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House." so says the woman who over that last few years has cut special ed funding by 62% in alaska!
i am a service coordinator for the early intervention (birth to three) program in illinois. i have a number of families on my caseload who have children with down syndrome among other devastating developmental and medical disabilities. i also have a coworker who has a son with down syndrome. it pains me to think that palin is trying to reach out to parents of children with special needs to serve her own purpose. her record shows, as does the republican record, that they don't serve these populations. they repeatedly cut funding for social services and disability services. now don't get me wrong - the democrats aren't always great on this one either. the state of illinois has raked us over the coals the past few years, and cut funding for EI and DD services, which is sickening, but the dems have historically been far more likely to support our cause than the GOP ever has.
again, i feel like it's a game they're playing. they're playing to women who want to see a female in one of the nation's highest positions. they're playing to parents of children with special needs who want to desperately believe that the government will step up and start taking better care of their children.
i just hope upon hope that mccain loses this game he's playing. for the sake of my unborn son, this country needs to change. we cannot keep going in the direction we are going. for better or worse, experienced or not, obama gives me hope. it makes me ache. it makes me feel proud to be an american for the first time in a very VERY long time. i want so much more, so much better for my son. i know i've had a good life and i've been able to overcome a lot of struggles and pain, but my goal is to still give my son better than i had. i want him to live in a world that's safer and more peaceful than the one i've lived in. i want him to be proud of who he is and where he's from. i want him to be able to believe so strongly in something that he someday feels the same ache that i feel. i have to stay hopeful that we will win and change will come, because i fear nothing more at this time in my life than mccain winning the white house. i fear it for myself, my son, my family and friends. something needs to happen to turn this country around, and i know for certain that that something is not john mccain.
so that's my two cents. hopefully my passion and my point were clear.