In the interests of helping expedite a new demand by the McCain campaign, per Rich Davis who today on MSNB's "Morning Joe" show alleged that "enough questions have been raised by the media that "all of Obama's small donors should be disclosed online", my husband and I have decided to step forward and add ourselves to the GOP Hit list the McCain campaign is apparently compiling for use after the election.
My husband and I are Disability Advocates and Adoptive Parents of Special Needs Children, Catholic and Evangelical Christian, Pro-life with the scars to prove it ---particularly on behalf of youth and adults with disabilities, and we are definitely "small" donors but we have strong feelings about this election, enough that we have committed ourselves and our resources to Sen. Obama, Sen. Biden, and the entire Democratic campaign straight on toward morning !!!
We have so, so many friends in the adoption, disability, and Christian communities who will be shocked and horrified at that statement ---and we expect backlash from those who choose to judge rather than listen to our reasons---but in the words of Edmund Burke:
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"
Once upon a time ---actually only 7 weeks or so ago, we had a great deal of respect for Sen. McCain and were pleasantly surprised by his choice of running mate, Sarah Palin, because of our deep respect for Nat Hentoff, one of the strongest voices for life among liberal and social justice journalists, and a friend who had helped us "make the injustice visible" on disability rights concerns in the "lives-worth-living"/euthanasia debate, who believed her choice to birth, keep and raise her child with Down Syndrome was one of principle rather than convenient and cynical politics.
For one shining moment, we actually believed America would be in safe hands no matter which party prevailed in the election! THEN she and Sen. McCain began their Hate-Speech tirades ----and outright Lies repeated over and over without regard to the facts---followed by Race-baiting, Incitement of Crowds to Violent Rhetoric, Vicious Robo-Calls and GOP Hate Literature calling for "Waterboarding" Obama if not outright assassination appeals, and now intentional Voter Intimidation (what else can you call McCain protesters verbally assaulting peaceful lines of Black US citizens waiting for their chance to vote Sunday afternoon so they don't have to take off work during the week---Just Yesterday! In North Carolina!).
As an Attorney with 25 years experience, even though presently a Full-Time Mom, I am horrified reading the history of the Palin involvement in an anti-America militia-based Secessionist movement, let alone the Troopergate reports and documents chronicling the family's total disregard for the Law, let alone Ethical Considerations, in their systematic and intentional Abuse of Power to target their personal enemies by misuse of governmental resources and connections.
When a major candidate, Sen. John McCain, and his campaign chooses to bless behavior that consists of FIRING SOMEONE BECAUSE THEY REFUSED TO BREAK THE LAW FOR THEM, as Gov. Palin obviously did, we have reached the heights of hypocrisy as well as the depths of potential "just following orders" evil as did the Nazis.
And how dare a War Hero such as McCain choose a running mate who mayor may not even be able to pledge allegiance to our flag, let alone promise to uphold the US Constitution, whose expressed intentions include allowing her husband (whose public 7 year plus membership in an anti-American organization committed to "infiltrating" the major parties makes most national security clearance out of the question) to fully participate in a McCain-Palin administration of expanded Cheney type Vice-Presidential command, and who would be merely a heartbeat/or declaration of incapacity away from the Presidency and full control of our military, including nuclear arsenals.
Furthermore, contrary to Sen. McCain's *SERIOUSLY INSULTING TO THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY* declaration that "she knows more than any other American I know about special needs" (which just reinforces the evidence of how Out of Touch he has become!), Sarah Palin has NO expertise in this field; she even cut Alaska Special Olympics budgets by 50% or more during her very first months as Governor!!! Using her handy special needs newborn as a stageprop "poster child" to attract gullible parents' votes ( instead of making sure Trig receives the care, environmental stability, bonding love for attachment, nurture, early intervention, protection from stress, plenty of rest, and non-exposure to high-decibel noise at rallies, let alone potential exposure to contagious disease, that he needs and deserves) leads many to question her parenting priorities as well as her obvious lack of credibility on the subject of special needs.
Sen. McCain DISHONORS the entire disability rights movement, from the Rehabilitation Act in 1973, to Education of All Handicapped Children's Act of 1978 (now IDEA –Individuals with Disabilities Education Act),to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, when he and Sarah Palin pander for the "special needs community" votes while patronizing and insulting the intelligence of the grassroots network of self-advocates, parents, family members, allies, dedicated professionals and other disability advocates who risked and sacrificed to free their brothers and sisters from lifetimes of institutionalization and isolation from society.
My husband, a Life-Long Disability Advocate with extensive legal advocacy and legislative experience since the 70s, deeply fears the type of retaliation and discrimination he, and anyone else choosing to exercise their First Amendment Rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, will suffer under a McCain-Palin regime. We and our special needs children already have enough obstacles to overcome, thank you, without fearing that even our disability and special needs adoption advocacy and community participation as citizens will not go unpunished.
Oh, you say, that could never happen! Well, you are wrong, it has and it can again! Not only have I spent half my life defending my choice to convert to Catholicism from terrible attacks by Christian evangelicals whose actual statements of faith are nearly identical, if not the same, as my own; but I, as Executive Director of Access International, Inc. since 1990 (a disability advocacy fellowship of youth and adults with and without disabilities working together to help each other and others) have received actual written Death Threats from "Right to Lifers" (ie: National Right to Life Association members and donors) whose agenda is anti-abortion EXCEPT for babies with special needs, and anti-life itself for all those "cripples" whose lives are worthless and "unproductive".
We live in VERY DANGEROUS TIMES!!! By the grace of God, we have a Last Chance to redeem our nation from the brink of further international wars and catastrophic economic collapse by choosing a candidate committed to Leadership instead of authoritarian and partisan domination; offering Hope for peace and prosperity instead of hate, division and abandonment of the poor for the enrichment of the wealthy; Celebrating the incredible Diversity of the American dream instead of merely tolerating, or even more often condemning, anyone who is different in color, race, ethnic background, faith, lifestyle or intellectual or physical ability. As for LIFE ISSUES: how can I as a Catholic or my husband as a Christian Evangelical vote against someone who claims to be Pro-Life? Pretty easy when you see through the claims, to the reality that lies beneath.
The so-called "right to life" advocates oppose comprehensive Health Care as a Right for all, and until our nation can provide for the medical and rehabilitative needs of all its citizens equitably, the blood of every person who has died or suffered by being turned away or denied benefits will be on their hands ---let alone the blood of every child aborted by birthparents because they could not, in their minds, afford to carry a special needs baby to term or afford the costs of additional health care, even for a typical child, if they added to their family.
And what about our escalating infant mortality rates in the US? Pera report in the Washington Post on October 15th, the United States "this most powerful and wealthiest country in the history of the world today ranks 29th among all nations. 29th! In 2000, we ranked 27th.
In 1960, 12th." Even more glaring, according to the CDC, African–American infant mortality in the US is more than twice these national averages!
And then we have another 4,000 plus American lives (not to mention our allies' losses, Iraqi losses and innocent civilians) lost in Iraq alone because of Lies by Bush-Cheney, with no likelihood of significantly different national defense strategies anytime soon under the 90% Bush-voting Sen. McCain; and another 40-50,000+ US veterans returning with serious disabilities, whose medical and rehabilitation needs are often barely being met, if at all, and for whom independent living and community options are few and far between due to 5-10 year long waiting lists for help.
Recent statistics from Disabled Veterans of America (2.9 million veterans are disabled; about 181,000 from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars) indicate that Sen. Obama has supported their concerns 80% of the time, as opposed to 20% of the time by Sen. McCain, who has consistently opposed increased funding for medical care from the Veteran's Administration, at one point being only one of 13 Senators to do so in a 2006 vote.
Caring for others throughout their lives is also often tragically overlooked by a "pro-life" movement that demands protection for the unborn, yet often ignores the needs of our 500,000 foster children, roughly 150,000 adoptable special needs children, warehoused in various degrees of state-supervised limbo instead of being nurtured and loved in permanent families; not to mention the growing numbers of homeless men, women and children in our "great nation" which prides itself on tax-credits for the rich.
As Christians who take Christ at his word when he says to follow Him in ministering to the "poorest of the poor" rather than those whose treasures are earthly, we agree with Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Nigeria as he explained in an October 11 interview with National Catholic Reporter:
"The fact that you oppose abortion doesn't necessarily mean that you are pro-life. You can be anti-abortion and still be killing people by the millions, through war, through poverty, and so on...If my choice is between the person who makes room for abortion but who is really pro-life in terms of justice in the world, peace in the world, I will prefer him to somebody who doesn't support abortion but who is driving millions of people in the world to death."
As Disability Advocates, we must agree with Justin Dart, one of the fathers of the Americans With Disabilities Act, who in 2002 with his dying breath adamantly protested : "the richest culture in the history of the world which still incarcerates millions of humans with and without disabilities in barbaric institutions, backrooms and worse, windowless cells of oppressive perceptions, for the lack of the most elementary empowerment supports."
Please decide today to join us in supporting Sen. Barack Obama for President, Sen. Joe Biden for Vice-President, Sen. Tom Udall for New Mexico's next Senator, and ALL the Democrats who share their Vision for America WITH JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!
And who will endorse the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, "the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century", which has already been ratified by more than 110 nations across the world, but NOT the United States of America.
The time has come for Americans to join in making their decisions of conscience, just as others who have gone before: In 1996, confronted by a Republican Party calling for "a retreat from Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln democracy," Dart campaigned for the re-election of President Clinton. This was a personally difficult "decision of conscience." Dart had been a Republican for most of his life, and had organized the disability constituency campaigns of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush, campaigning against Clinton in 1992. But in a turnabout that was reported in the New York Times and the Washington Post, Dart went all out for Clinton, even speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
The Darts yet again undertook a whirlwind tour of the country, telling people to "get into politics as if your life depended on it. It does." At his speech the day after the election, President Clinton publicly thanked Dart for personally campaigning in all fifty states, and cited his efforts as "one reason we won some of those states."We want to personally echo Justin's words as we endorse the Obama-Biden candidacy for the Presidency of the United States:
"Our lives, our children's lives, the quality of the lives of billions in future generations hangs in the balance."And"get into politics as if your life depended on it. It does."
Thank you for listening! Please will all the rest of the "small donors" for Obama step forward here to state their cases as well!
Perhaps that way the GOP Hit list will end up so long they won't be able to target everyone.
Very TRULY yours,
Lawrence & Patti Murphy