23 October 2008

Palin and Disability

In the Vice Presidential debate, Sarah Palin said that she and McCain have agreed that her policy portfolio in the White House will include energy policy, government reform, and issues facing families of children with disabilities. That last issue, of course, is one of personal importance to the Palins, and it's encouraging to hear it raised for the first time at such a high level in the public square. (I assume it is the first time someone anywhere near the White House has said that issues of developmental disability will be a part of their work?) As several L'Arche friends have said, you gotta give her credit for that.

I also had a hunch that Sarah Palin's noble interest in helping disabled children & their families might end up becoming a policy bludgeon to be wielded in the campaign, because that tends to happen with just about everything in our elections. (Think of body armor for troops, or prescription drug benefits for the elderly.) Such a development would seem particularly tragic with something as tender as developmental disability. The last thing we want to see is the replacement of "Joe the Plumber" with "Trig the Happy Down Syndrome Kid".

So, here I am voicing my fear about what might happen, in hopes that I will somehow jinx it into not happening. That being said, Palin will deliver her first policy address of the campaign (!) on Friday, and it will be about her commitment to families of children with special needs. Do good, Sarah.

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