Thursday, January 15, 2009

Down Syndrome In The Spotlight

Recently I have been thinking about the impact that Governor Sarah Palin had and continues to have on the thinking of society pertaining to individuals with special needs. Politics aside, she was a pioneer for many reasons. Unfortunately, she was ridiculed for many of those reasons. One reason in particular that encouraged me in my journey was her outward and very public love for her son Trig. I can remember that then-Vice Presidential candidate Palin had just been chosen to be on the ticket with John McCain about the time that John was born. Joy and I were still in a state of numbness when everyone kept telling us about Gov. Palin's son. It seemed that most of the time that we turned on the political pundants that consumed the airwaves at that time, there she was sporting her baby Trig for the world to see - almost like it was vogue to have a child with Down syndrome. This peaked our interest in this woman further. Not only the fact that their situation seemed to mirror ours in a lot of ways, we were also interested because of her public acceptance and affection for that child to a world that denies their right to life on a daily basis.

Surely she knew that the public that she would subject her Trig to was not accepting of him. But I like to think that she knew that that is what America needed to see which was that a child with special needs may or may not physically look just like you and me and that a child with special needs can and deserves to be loved and cuddled. Maybe this was part of the reason she was mocked or it could have even been part of the reason her ticket was rejected. But those 6 months that she had the spotlight, she communicated something deeply to some of us with children with Down syndrome and that is that they are people that are deserving of our love and affection. I might add that after having John in my life for 6 months, all of us in this house agree with her that it is vogue to have a baby with Down syndrome. We just call him our social baby because he loves life and loves people.

Maybe Gov. Palin will be back or maybe she won't. But she gave America a message that we all needed to hear during those months. And the message that I received was that children with Down syndrome should not be put on the shelf and forgotten. They are living, breathing individuals that are deserving of our time, love and affection. Some may criticize her for what she did with parading Trig in front of the masses, but I applaud her for her stand. And for that, she and Trig have encouraged me and my family.

7 comments:

boo4baby said...

I totally agree, Jay! I loved seeing that little baby out there with the whole family.....after all, where else would he be?!

luvmypeanut said...

My oldest son got the pleasure of spending some time with Gov Palin while she was in Omaha. In fact she took his Omaha Mavericks hockey jersey home with her.

He chatted with her about his baby brother, who has down syndrome. She actually took the time to write me a personal note (you can see it on my blog)! He said she is really a neat person, someone who we will be hearing more from! To think she took a few extra minutes to write me a note is awesome!

I like her too and I think she took some unfair hits during the campaign. I'm so glad she put down syndrome out there for us all!

Beverly said...

I too loved seeing Trig out there with her! It was so wonderful to have our kids in the spot light. I think she is great!

Angela said...

I loved seeing Trig out there! He's only a few days older than Benjamin, so it really touched me.

Lovin Mama said...

So true! My family and I couldn't get enough of Piper and Trig.

Jill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

I'm a big fan of Sarah Palin. I too received a personal note from her mother right after she had Trig. I had reached out to congratulate her and her mother responded (Sarah was a bit busy at the time :)!!) Anyway, the way you stated "we were also interested because of her public acceptance and affection for that child to a world that denies their right to life on a daily basis", brought chills to me. I have written many times on the subject of prenatal testing and the horrors of that statistic. I share your thoughts exactly and I just think you said it perfectly in this post.