I was approached today by Debbie Joslin, Republican National Committeewoman for the State of Alaska, and friend of mine. She is also a friend of Sarah Palin and has known her for a long time. We started discussing the recent "Wonkette" article (see here)and Debbie mentioned she was writing an article to address it. I offered to share it with our readers and she accepted. Debbie has a lot of personal experience with this subject, as you will read. I'm so pleased to share this with all our readers. Thank you, Debbie, for this heartfelt article.
National Committeewoman for Alaska
Republican National Committee
April 22, 2011
The recent attacks on Trig Palin remind me of something my brother frequently says: “People who call names aren’t very smart.” My brother Danny is 50 years old and in many ways is like a child; he is developmentally disabled. He grew up with neighborhood bullies calling him a “retard” and other such names. When I was a kid, I stood up for my brother against those bullies.
Today I have a few words for the “progressive elitists” who are treating Trig Palin the same way Danny was treated. These juvenile diatribes may be aimed at Trig Palin, but many of us take them personally. These attacks against Trig are a slam against everyone who has a developmental disability and those who love them. If you disagree with something Sarah Palin says, attack her ideas, not her toddler.
I feel like I know Trig a little; I held him as an infant, and I know his mom. Sarah Palin sent me an encouraging note after my own son, Isaiah, died at one month old from complications of Trisomy 13 (Patua Syndrome). Children with Trisomy 13 are profoundly disabled; learning to speak and to walk are huge achievements. So, between my brother, Danny, and my son, Isaiah, I have license to speak on this subject.
As an adult, I have been with my brother in public and had “grownup” men in expensive suits say rude things and act disgusted at having to sit close to my brother on an airplane. I have had people who were certainly old enough to know better treat my brother with contempt. I have experienced the loathing the left has for those who are developmentally disabled. In 1999, doctors urged me to abort my disabled son or leave him to die after birth.
I was at the Republican National Convention in 2008 when Sarah Palin’s family joined her on the stage. I might add that John McCain’s family was on that stage too. Barack Obama also had his family on the stage of the Democratic Convention. Out of all that, Trig is a “prop”? I cried that night when I saw Trig being held by his parents. I cried for my brother and my own son and for all of the other people (yes, they ARE people!) who have been treated like second class citizens in this country. I cried because my own parents were ashamed of my brother. I was –and still am- so happy for Trig because he has parents who cherish him and recognize his worth. I cried because I felt hope that the days when people were judged to have worth only if their IQ was socially acceptable, seemed to be coming to an end.
Was I wrong? Is it still cool to call someone a retard? I hope not. But, in case I am wrong, remember what my (very smart) brother says: “People who call names aren’t very smart.”