Saturday, September 06, 2008

Why Sarah Palin is not "brave" or remarkable.

Some may be reading this title and thinking I'm going to criticize Gov. Palin. Let me apologize to you ahead of time. What I am about to say, I am positive Sarah Palin would agree with.

Sara Palin did no great deed in deciding to keep her son Trig who was born with Down's Syndrome. I have heard from supporters and critics alike that this act was something extra ordinary. But from a truly Christian point of view, she did no more than what God has called her to do; love and care for her blessing of a child.
Rahul Parikh from Salon magazine has written in an article that Sarah Palin is actually a hypocrite because she "decided" to not abort her child but she wants to take away other women's right to make that same decision. This is a perfect example of how the pro-choice left simply cannot understand the perspective of pro-life advocates. For people like Sarah Palin there was only one decision made; to open her marriage to children. There is no later decision to keep a child, only to accept God's call and command on those who stand before him and enter into the marriage covenant He established when He created us.
I was surprised and excited to see that even a liberal pundit like Chris Matthew's echoed this point yesterday on Cspan when he remarked that it is wrong for liberals to be shocked that Palin would keep her baby and view her as a "monk" for making such a pious life decision. She did what you are supposed to do, welcome your child to the world even when they aren't perfect. Not all of out kids can go to Princeton and live perfect lives.
What I'm about to say may seem insensitive so if you haven't agreed with me yet, prepare yourself. People who don't abort their children with disabilities are not superheroes; people who do abort their children because they have disabilities are selfish, lazy, and partakers in a genocide fueled by eugenics that is as horrendous as Action T4. Some may see this as judgmental and unchristian but let me be clear that there is grace for these people, but no one receives grace who does not think they need it. It is especially important to remember that the grace given to them is given by our Heavenly Father who, knowing our wretched state and our crippling disabilities before He created us, chose to bring us into this world and make us inheritors of His kingdom. Who knew and has witnessed our failures to accomplished what he has called us to do, but still includes us in his plans even though we can never quite do things right. We are all God's retarded children!! I'm sure He could looks at our simple and ignorant lives where we pass on deeper joys for cheap thrill and shallow pleasures and say "Such a poor existence is not worth living." But He does not. He works with us in our ignorant state and helps us to catch small glimpses of the greatness that He knows and wants for us. How sickeningly prideful are we that we can, in our state, tell anyone that their life is so inferior that they should not exist?
Yet that is what we do. This self righteousness is not even reserved for the most difficult of cases but is seen with disturbing prevalence in cases of children with Down's Syndrome. According to Rahul Parikh, 90% of children diagnosed with Down's Syndrome before they are born are aborted. These are not people who will spend their lives on ventilators and suffering horrible physical ailments. I have worked with a variety of people with Down's Syndrome for years, I have known many who have graduated High School (most with appropriate support), have community jobs, have normal relationships, and have meaningful lives. My brother has Down's Syndrome and is diagnosed with severe/profound mental retardation (he's basically at the bottom of the spectrum in regards to cognitive ability) and he can talk to me, laugh and joke with me, play games, and in general live a good life. We won't be discussing Kierkegaard or anything, but I would never in a million years say that it would be better if he didn't exist. I'm not going to pretend that children with Down's Syndrome are just as easy to raise as any other child. I know just how difficult it can be. But that is what we are called to. If you are not willing to put in the work and sacrifice that a special needs child requires, you should not have children (or have sex for that matter, but that is a bigger issue).
So thank you Sarah Palin, not for going above and beyond what is expected of you, but for reminding us what is expected of everyone.
Dan, 8:14 AM | link | 7 comments |

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's speech

Most people have probably heard Gov. Palin's speech last night last night or at least seen highlights on the news. There has been a lot of buzz from various political figures and pundits but it seems that the majority of people saw it as a very effective speech (whether they agreed with the content or not). I personally thought it was an incredible first step into the presidential race. She did everything she needed to do; introduced the country to her and her family, explained her experience and her philosophy as a politician, and showed herself to be a capable vice presidential nominee that doesn't need to be coddled or protected.
As would be expected, the criticism from the left started pouring in as soon as the speech was over. What I saw was not in any way surprising and seemed to be just another symptom of democrats' memory problems. So let me address a few criticisms I thought were particularly amusing.
First, I have heard many complaints about Palin's attacks against Obama being potshots or below the belt. They try and paint Obama as the nice guy who has always taken the high road and shown respect for his opponents. Really?! So saying that McCain is trying to convince voters not the vote for him because he's black isn't a low blow and in fact an all out lie? Yet that is exactly what Obama did back in June. I guess the dems didn't remember that.
Second, many people (including Obama himself) have been saying that Palin and the republicans have been avoiding the issues because they don't have a plan. The fact that so many people buy into this kind of surprised me and is a bit depressing. Again we have the long term memory loss coming into play as people don't seem to recall McCain laying out his plans for a number of issues months ago. In fact this was well before Obama filled out his plans and he was criticized from both sides of the issues for not having positions. What is really depressing though is that people are too lazy to look up McCain's positions that he has laid out on his website. McCain's energy plan alone has been available for months and has been a lot more realistic and comprehensive than Obama's. But unfortunately, many people get the bulk of their news from the Daily Show and anyone who checks the Networks probably wouldn't have seen to much on McCain's plans since most of the news agencies have been too busy following Obama around and washing his feet with their hair.
Third, critics have stated that Palin's statements about Obama's job as a community organizer have insulted community organizers and the work they do. She in no way said that community organizers don't do great things. She simply pointed out that it is not the type of experience that makes you qualified to be the president of the united states. As someone who has worked in social services for years, I know the valuable and hard work that case managers, and community workers do but I am also realistic about our abilities and quite frankly I don't see these positions as qualifying me or anyone else for the presidency.
On that note let me touch on the experience issue briefly. The debate over who is more qualified, Palin or Obama has been a heated one. I personally am much more impressed with Sarah Palin than Obama, but it is not simply by stacking up accomplishments but by looking at how they have each used their potential. Obama is clearly an intelligent and exciting individual. He corrected the failing trajectory of his youth that included selling drugs to become a student at Harvard where he was head of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. He went on to do..well, very little. He was in a position to do incredible things but instead coasted on his "potential." Even in this campaign you see most Obama supporters speaking of his potential, not about his accomplishments. On the other hand, Sarah Palin started out with a degree in journalism from University of Idaho and worked her way up from PTA, to mayor, to Governor chalking up an impressive list of accomplishments along the way. Obama has had almost 20 years to live up to his potential. I really don't see that he has. Plus the fact that he started writing his first memoir just out of law school seems pretty presumptious to me. If you want to see this point better illustrated than I have here, check out this article.
I know that the media will be focusing on these points for the next couple of days, but I would like to point out something incredible that Sarah Palin did last night. In her speech she declared that she would be an advocate and a voice for people with disabilities in Washington. This was huge!!! Disability rights groups have been doing everything they can in order to get their issues addressed by politicians, both republican and democratic. The fact that even the "enlightened" liberals have ignored such a large population in this country that in most states can and often are thrown in institutions without any say, locked up, abused, overmedicated, and robbed of the freedoms that every other marginalized group have had for years is astounding. Sara Palin has taken up the mantle of George Bush Sr. who established the ADA and has promised to continue to give rights to many who can't speak for themselves. I think that Americans from any political persuasion should really take a moment and acknowledge that this was a noteworthy statement. And democrats should be worried. People with disabilities and those who know and care for them have often chosen democrats as the lesser of two evils. This may shift some people to the McCain ticket more than they realize.
Dan, 12:30 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, September 01, 2008

A whiter shade of Palin

As many other election junkies on the right side of the isle, the past few days have been quite a roller coaster. The DNC wrapped up last week with some powerful speeches, Obama was boosted 8 points, McCain announced his running mate as Sarah Palin, Obama's "bump" decreased returning the candidates to a statistical tie, and finally three big revelations come from Palin 1) Palin is getting a lawyer due to the trooper-gate scandal (no she didn't have a state trooper pick up women for her to sleep with, that was the other trooper-gate involving a certain ex-prez of the Clinton persuasion) 2) Palin's husband had a DUI when he was 20 3) The big shocker, her 17 year old daughter is 5 months pregnant.
I have to say I feel a bit light headed with everything that has been going on. So I decided to do what most people under 30 do when there is something on thier mind; I blog.
First of all, let me say I have been a supporter of Palin as a possible VP for a while now (as a second choice after Bobby Jindal). I didn't know a ton about her, but from what I did see she seemed like a straight shooter with a lot of potential. I had pretty much ruled her out as a possibility weeks ago so when I heard that McCain had picked her I was shocked but excited. At the same time I was a little apprehensive about the fact that little was known about her. Most politicians (or people for that matter) have some skeletons in the closet but by the time they get to a VP nomination they have had to be be set out in the open and air out a bit. Palin is not so lucky. So now that her dirty laundry is spread all over the major news networks, what are we to think?

For me personally I don't care all that much about the first two. There is an active investigation into the who state trooper issue so I will let the professionals sort that out before I have an opinion and her husbands DUI was 4 years before they were married so it doesn't seem to really have a bearing on this election. As for the prenancy, that is a different issue. Obama has already come out and said that family is off limits and that he will not comment on this matter. Many other polical leaders are echoing his sentiments. But there are still many who say that Palin's position on abortion and sex education makes this an open issue. Personally I would disagree with both sides. I think there is most certainly room to discuss a politicians family if it directly pertains to their ability to lead or contradicts claims that they have made. On the other hand I disagree with Palin's critics because I don't feel that this situation meets the criteria I listed.
I have heard many people call Sarah Palin a hypocrit becuase she supports abstinence education and her daughter is pregnant at 17. This falls apart on several levels. First of all, Gov. Palin is not against contraception as many have claimed. She is pro-contraception but has opposed certain types of sex education. So I would hardly call this incident proof of hypocrisy. Now if she had helped her daughter get a secret abortion that would be a different issue, but she instead chose to support her daughter and encourage both her and the child's father to take responsibility for their actions rather than take a quick fix. That seems to be rather consistent.
Critics have also used this incident to try and prove Gov. Palin's views are wrong and have caused her daughter to end up in this situation. This isn't the first time I have heard people use this type of anecdotal evidence to criticize abstinence education. Even if it was true that Gov. Palin was an abstinence education only proponent (which she is not), the question I would ask is do you really think that Bristol Palin and her boyfriend did not know what a condom was? That somehow not having a class in school prevented them from all exposure to the concept of contraceptives? No, they made the same decision that numerous teens who have been through sex ed. made: to be an idiot and not use a condom even though they are fully aware of what they are and what they do. And since when does one case determine the success of a theory or program? Of course the same people throwing this around think that Obama's economic and energy plans make sense, so they obviously aren't good with numbers.
Finally, I don't want to let Gov. Palin off the hook. This situation does at least point towards some problems in her home but I cannot say anything more than that. I do not have enough information to say anything on that subject, nor is it my place to. The Palin family is dealing with this and I can only assume that there is much more going on privately than what they are stating publicly. But I can say that how Palin chooses to deal with this will be very telling. For now, I will continue to watch and wish the best for Gov. Palin and her family.
Dan, 8:58 PM | link | 1 comments |