Pushing the Agenda

Long time readers know that I’m hardly shy when it comes to politics.  I’ve had lawn signs since I’ve had a yard to put them in, and I’ve grown up with my family knowing politicians, or being involved in issues…

So we’re already into the 2016 electoral cycle, as it would seem, and I of course am already getting requests for money from campaigns.

I’ve not donated yet to any campaign, but then an email came into my inbox on Sunday evening from the Martin O’Malley campaign.  (For those who’ve not noticed – my family lives in Maryland, and Mister O’Malley’s our immediate past governor.)  It was interesting, especially as it was entitled “I’m not asking for money”… but it had an interesting line in it.

So you’ve been opening our emails, but haven’t made the decision to chip in to the campaign yet. I get it, and I’ll stop asking. How about this instead: hit reply on this email and tell me what’s holding you back. I know Martin’s positions on every issue, and I’m working on this campaign because I believe he’s the best possible candidate we have to lead our country.

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that they know if I opened the emails – most online groups put ‘bugs’ in the emails (1×1 pixel images) to tell if someone opens them.  But…

Well, it’s only polite to respond, right?

Good evening.  I’m sorry for not writing back sooner – I’ve been busy with matters in my regular life.
I’ll be honest with you – there are two reasons that I’ve not contributed, and only one of them has to do with my doubts, based on current polling, as to Governor O’Malley’s chances in the primaries.The second, though, is a cause that I’ve not heard any of the candidates speak out about sufficiently for the last several electoral cycles – Autism and Special Education.My eldest son, [the Monster], is a seven year old with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  He’s sweet and lovable… but nearly non-verbal and severely delayed in most respects to his co-evals.  My wife and I devote a lot of our time to pushing for what he’s legally entitled to under the law – a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), accommodation to allow him to live as full a life as possible despite his disability, and the respect and understanding of those around him – but there’s very little attention paid to children like [The Monster] by anyone in the political sphere.  He’s an afterthought.

And yes, my son is one child.  But he, and children like him, are growing in number with every passing day.  One out of sixty-eight children today in the United States has Autism, and those children with Autism are growing up to be adults with Autism, without our government doing very much at all to help them.  There are laws that are unenforced – indeed, in the case of Baltimore City, are ignored – by the local school districts.

I’m not looking for a candidate to declare war on this disorder.  What I’m looking for is a candidate who is going to fight for all Americans, and especially for children like my son, who can’t fight for themselves.  I’m looking for a candidate for President who is going to understand that people with developmental disabilities are also their constituents, and that they deserve to have a leader who is going to fight for them.

I’m looking for a candidate who is willing to say the unpopular thing – that we need to be doing more for all Americans with disabilities, that we need to be penalizing those who don’t live up to the laws on the books, and to strengthen those laws to ensure that all Americans have a fair chance at the American dream.So… tell me.  What is Governor O’Malley going to do for children with invisible disabilities like my son?I look forward to your response.

I’ll let you all know if I get a response.

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