|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Let's continue to look at the contrasts between Sarah and other parents with children with DS. Catherine pointed out to me that actor John C McGinley, who plays one of the doctors in the series Scrubs, is the father of another Max, who also has Down syndrome. John was just as overwhelmed as any other parent when he learned that Max had DS. Did he say Max is an adorable miracle and stop at that? No. He and his wife tried to learn everything they could about the condition, joined groups, used his fame to promote events to raise money and awareness about DS; John C. gave numerous interviews and wrote articles where he pulled no punches regarding the irresponsible use of the word "retard."
John C. is committed to building awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome. In 2002, he joined the National Down Syndrome Society as the National Buddy Walk Spokesman, providing significant national visibility for the program. He served as the 2005/2006 national spokesperson for the Society's annual Buddy Walks, advocacy walks that take place in hundreds of cities across the United States and Canada.
A simple google search will return results pointing to countless blogs written by parents of children with special needs. I had a quick look at some of them and noticed that they share a few things: Networking, supporting special needs organizations, supporting other parents, asking readers to pray for a particular child going through a bad patch. They all celebrate their children and are proud to share their achievements and landmarks with their readers. They share resources, united in their quest to make their children's lives richer and the path a bit smoother.
A bunch of unknown people do their best for their children and hope to raise awareness about their conditions, share what they know with others, giving tips and linking to helpful organizations. These parents want to make a contribution and make a difference in any way they can. Some of the contributors to Palingates, like StephiLou, tXdAd and others generously shared their experiences in the comments section. We learned from them and our little community was enriched, we became more aware in the process.
Please note that I refer to parents of children with special needs simply as parents of children with special needs. They don't like to define themselves or their babies by their diagnoses. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, wears Down syndrome as a badge, using Trig and his condition to serve her own skewed agenda. That's why I refer to her as a "DS mom." She likes to point out that she "chose" to have Trig, knowing he was going to be born with Down syndrome. So did many other parents. The big difference is that they saw the child first and the condition was secondary in their choices. Some other parents were not aware of DS before the birth of their babies, but again, they fell in love with their babies, not their diagnoses. They see themselves as parents and don't feel special because their children are a bit different.
Sarah Palin is the most famous "DS mom" in the country. But apart from parading Trig all over the place in inappropriate attire, spouting some soundbites in her speeches and giving a token donation to NADS, she has done absolutely nothing for children with special needs and their families. She uses her Facebook page to attack people and not much else. There are so many avenues open to her if she really wanted to support families raising children with special needs... What's stopping her from creating a Facebook group dedicated to sharing stories about Trig, how he's making progress thanks to early intervention programs, giving links to resources, having a forum where other parents could tell their stories, talk about their triumphs and their struggles?
If she would put a fraction of the energy she uses to attack people (in a very aggressive manner) into promoting a group dedicated to children with special needs instead, she could make a greater impact than all the little known blogs put together.
But Sarah Palin is not about the positive. She's not for solutions or anything constructive.