Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Few Words About Palin and the Exploitation of Trig

I really hadn't decided whether or not I was going to discuss Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin here on my blog. So many people are talking about her that I didn't feel like re-hashing the conversations that are taking place all around the blogosphere. However, I'm so fed up right now that I just can't hold this in any longer.

I think I'm going to either scream or throw up if I hear one more person claim that Sarah Palin shouldn't be criticized because she is, after all, the mother of a little "special needs child" and, "Omigosh isn't she brave for actually chosing to have the baby even though she knew it would have a disability?" Enough with the bullshit people!

If Palin's status as the mother of a person with disabilities (PWD) makes her off-limits for criticism, this certainly doesn't apply to me because in a game of cripple oneupsmanship, I win. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I've got just a few words to say about this person.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly probably already knows this but, for those who might not, it is my position that having a disease/disorder/health condition/sickness is not enough to qualify for canonization. I regularly interact with a lot more people with disabilities than the some people probably ever bother to get to know in their lifetime. As a result, I can authoritatively assert that some PWD are kind-hearted. Some are fearless and courageous. Some are gentle and compliant with their caretakers. But you know what? For every PWD like that, I know others who are bigoted, others who are untrustworthy, others who are extremely annoying to be around. Get it? We run the entire personality gamut exactly like those in the non-disabled population.

In case you aren't sure about the implications of this revelation, I'll spell it out. No one deserves any brownie points or gold stars just because they didn't abort a pregnancy where the fetus was found to have disabilities. I am just the sort of "defective model" that many people in this society have the tendency to under-value and, for that reason, I am quite critical of some of the specious arguments people use to try and support pro-choice positions. However, that doesn't mean that those who continue these pregnancies (where the eventual baby will have "special needs") are somehow superior to the rest of the world's mothers. Do we lavish people with praise for not burglarizing the houses next door to them? Do we award academic honors to any college student who doesn't drop out by the end of a semester? Do we owe any admiration for those whose only accomplishment is not achieving complete failure at the task that they chose to attempt? I say we don't. It takes much more than that to make you a hero(ine) in my opinion.

So, with regards to Palin, being a political candidate who is the parent of a child with disabilities doesn't mean she isn't still an ignorant ass with policies that are bad for most Americans and especially bad for those of us Americans who are living with serious disabilities. As several mothers of children who have Trisomy-21 (Down's Syndrome) have been pointing out, for Palin to have her infant out there at these rallies being passed arm-to-arm among crowds is extremely irresponsible. As someone with a compromised immune system, I can attest to how large crowds like these Republican rallies can be the kiss of death for folks like us and that's no exaggeration.

Even though I strongly disagree with many of her policies, I'd have more respect for Palin if she at least had the sense to keep her baby away from all of these people breathing all over him, at least until his immune system has had a chance to develop. I have grown to truly destest this woman.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this - for articulating so clearly what was an at first vague discomfort, and then an explicit feeling of disgust around this. The campaign and this family are compromising this child's dignity (and as you point out, health) by parading him around and making him the poster child for "Yay We're The Not Like Those Nasty Abortionists Party!" It's the same discomfort and yes, disgust I often feel when adoptive parents (and I speak as an adoptive parent) are similarly canonized for "rescuing" children. I also speak as the sibling of a "special needs" child... I guess our family deserves some retroactive medals, maybe? Oh, wait - no - we were just a black family who didn't have anyone running for office. Never mind.

thanks again. Glad you spoke out on this.

bint alshamsa said...


Actually, I think you hit the nail on the head even better than I could because you tied in something that I wanted to add but couldn't figure out how.

The German and I want to adopt a child. I'd love for that child to be a person with disabilities but it isn't because I'm just so gosh-dern altruistic and I feel sorry for "teh poor, poor cripple-kids". I simply want a child who won't feel like the odd person out because they are the only one in the house who is non-disabled.

We are the ones who will benefit the most from being able to adopt a child regardless of what society thinks about her/his value. My daughter has added so much to my life that what I could do for her will never match what she has done for me.

It's all the same mentality (this attitude about adopting kids and/or being the parent of a child with disabilities), isn't it?

BLESSD1 said...

Hey Bint. Thank you for putting a well-placed foot up her Bridge-to-Nowhere supporting ass. Keep waxing that ass so eloquently :-)

annaham said...

This is a great post. As usual, you're right on target.

Also: Did you see that bizarre piece where James Dobson (Focus on the Family) interviews Palin, and at one point he waxes rhapsodic about how he wrote her a letter to "thank" her for carrying Trig to term? Sickening. The media and the Republicans are not treating--nor will they ever treat--Trig like a person. As far as they're concerned, he's just a "living example" of pro-lifeness. It makes me sick, but somehow, it does not surprise me.