Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chicago Tribune Editorial: Empathy for the Palin's

Empathy for the Palin's
October 16, 2008

My 21-year-old son has Asperger's disorder (diagnosed, finally, in his senior year in high school) and has had serious behavioral and psychological issues as well. He endured merciless bullying from middle school forward. He is in his third year of pursuing an Associates degree and has struggled bravely and doggedly to master skills for his education and impending independence. I am enormously proud of him. Since he entered kindergarten, I have attended more school staffings, therapy sessions and psychological evaluations than I can count, and I have done so gladly, but it has been exhausting and at times heartbreaking.

For John McCain to claim that Sarah Palin knows better than anyone the challenges of special needs families is condescending, offensive and frightening. I have enormous empathy for the road ahead for Trig and his parents - both the challenges and rewards are real - but Trig is an infant and Sarah and Todd cannot have fully engaged with the school or health systems yet regarding his needs. Palin does not, cannot, understand the road that lies ahead for her personally, and she sets out on that road with a head start of privilege that most "special needs families" do not enjoy. If she really believes she has some "special" knowledge of the needs of families like mine, she is frighteningly naive. And McCain is shamelessly exploiting Trig to paint Palin as a patron saint of families of special needs kids.

For the first time, after tonight's debate, I truly believe that being a woman was not the only qualification the GOP considered in nominating Palin - the Rovian analysis of niche appeal revealed "special needs families" as a potential untapped microcosm ripe for the picking. How incredibly insulting and venal!

-Janet Takehara

Read the whole story here:
Empathy for the Palin's

Sarah Palin - Choice?

McCain Rates His Debate Performance