I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
Martin Luther King Jr said "Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But, Conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular - but one must take it simply because it is right."
This speech was made at the National Cathedral just days before his assassination. While we were in Washington last summer, part of the tour told us that Dr King gave his last speech at the Cathederal before his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, the night of his assassination.
As I read the speech in its entirety: http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/remaining_awake_through_a_great_revolution/ I found that most of the speech is still relevant today. Pretty ironic 42 years later.
The quote above was our last mesage before we left our BPDD (http://wi-bpdd.org/) retreat last week in Ashland. It was in reference to being passionate about our mission as a board.
Today I was sent the following story from the NY Times in regards to states cutting funds for home care to the elderly and the disabled. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/us/21aging.html?_r=2&hp
Why do we continue to take from some of our most vulnerable citizens? Many of whom have spent a good portion of their lives contributing to the prosperity of this country. I am not only referring to the seniors, but the disabled as well. Many people with developmental disabilites are productive members of this society.
As you read the article, it shows that in one state the cost for in-home or community care is about 25% of nursing home care. Where does it make sense to push people to the nursing home setting when all they need is a little assistance at home and at a fraction of the cost.
Why do we need to take away a persons dignity when it comes time to adjust how and where they live? Not just because of insurance issues, but hospitals send people home as soon as possible because people heal better at home. An environment they know and are confortable in. I have to believe that the same principle is true when it comes to living at home. By no means am I diminishing the nursing home setting, there is a need for them, but if left a choice, I am sure many would prefer to be living at home.
As the father of a child with a developmental disability, it angers me that people who need a little assistance have to jump through hoops for that financial aid, yet there are those who know how to work the system to get all of the help they need with little effort knowing the chances of getting caught are minimal.
My son becomes a teenager in a couple of weeks. As I have said, we, my wife and I, are looking to the future for Tyler. Some of the challenges ahead are going to be transportation: always looking at cutting bus routes, housing: a lot of "not in my back yard" due to the financial situation of individuals, both seniors and individuals with disabilities and jobs: let them do remedial work.
It is not acceptable to allow this to go on in this country. We, meaning the entire country, need to step up and be leaders when it comes time to taking care of all of our citizens. Science is keeping people alive longer, the senior population is only going to grow. Science is also allowing those with many different disabilities to become more active and mobile. So we better come up with a better solution then continuing to cut out their benefits.
This Friday, there is a Candidates Forum for US Senator and Governor to be held in Green Bay http://www.dawninfo.org/news/post.cfm/candidates-forum-on-july-30 adressing issues for both seniors and those with disabilities. All candidates have been invited, as of early Monday, I was told that Sen Feingold, Stephen Finn, Ron Johnson and Dave Westlake have confirmed for the Senate Race. Tom Barrett and Mark Neuman had confrimed for the Governor's Race.
It is time to step up and do it BECAUSE IT IS RIGHT