Unless you are the parents of special needs children you might have missed this section of Gov Sarah Palin’s speech Wednesday.
Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a special love.
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.
Both my wife and I cried; cried years of frustration at dealing with public institutions, schools, and everything else. Unless you’re there or know families who are, you don’t know the economic and emotional toll inflicted on families. Parents of special needs children will tell you that the love and joys they experience are perhaps even greater than others could know, but it’s certainly not an easy road to travel.
So hearing those words brought years of emotion to the surface.
Now we need our new advocate to deliver more specifics than they’ve previously announced. Gov. Palin and Cindy McCain (who has worked extensively with autistic children) need to help the McCain campaign provide even more specifics. As the parent of three autistic children I want McCain to put something like a federal version of South Carolina’s Ryan’s Law into their health care proposals. Certainly there are other opportunities and research worthy of their support. The thing is that they have a historic opportunity to engage a constituency that crosses party lines in search of the best possible support for their children’s needs.
As a Republican I support John McCain and Sarah Palin, but as a parent of special needs children I’ll cast my ballot for whichever candidate offers the best proposals to support our children’s and families needs. The McCain/Palin ticket is ahead on that scorecard tonight for families with special needs children, but it’s not a done deal. Sen. Obama could move more toward Hillary Clinton’s more complete agenda.
Right now John McCain and Sarah Palin need to deliver on her promise of advocacy this evening.