I am not a very political person. I don't have passionate political views on most issues, and I try to keep an open mind. I have good friends on either side of the political divide, and I can see the reasoning behind their differing views. There are a few issues I generally base my votes on---education and autism. Not that many politicians directly address autism, but I look at what they say about disability issues in general, or if there's nothing there, other closely related issues. It's the only way to decide that makes sense to me. I don't know enough about the economy or foreign affairs or the budget to make a reasoned decision, but I know enough about education and autism to decide fairly well.
That being said, I want to quote my friend Michelle's post on Facebook yesterday (hope you don't mind, Michelle!). It was on my mind all night. It was so well said. Here it is...
One day I'll be dead, and my child will be dependent on the kindness of strangers (taxpayers) to keep her alive. I sincerely hope and pray that society does not cast her aside for being an entitled, freeloading victim. Please put yourself in my shoes for one terrifying moment.
That got me. That really got me. Because that's what it comes down to. Someday, Janey will be dependent on the kindness of strangers, of those who make the decisions how money is spent. Baring miracles, Janey will never work at a job that can support her. She will always be dependent. This is not her choice. She would have no idea what being entitled means. She is no freeloader. She is the result of the chance we all take when we have children, when we, in fact, just live another day. None of us know when it will be us that fate decides to disable, or to give a child with disabilities to.
I know there are freeloaders out there. I know there are those that feel entitled. But Janey, or indeed our family, are not them. We most certainly pay taxes. We get no money from the state or federal government for Janey. Some day, she might quality for Social Security Disability, and at that point, I will apply for it, but right now, we support her. And we pay Social Security taxes to support others like her, that are not in a position to support themselves. And we do so gladly. No-one likes taxes, but they are the best system devised for making sure there is a safety net for those who need it.
There are always going to be dependents in this society. Or at least, I hope there will be. A society that doesn't want any dependents scares me. There are always going to be those born to need lifelong help. And I dare say we are all better because of it. When I see all the children at Janey's school with Down Syndrome, with cerebral palsy, with autism....I see some wonderful, amazing children that bring great joy to those around them. Do we want a society without those children, without the adults they will one day become? Do we want a society where there are no dependents? I hope, for the sake of Janey and all those like her, that we most certainly do not.