I am completely depressed at the thought of Mitt Romney winning this election.
I doubt he is a horrible man, but I believe he has horrible plans, horrible ideas for people like Jimmy.
Jimmy is one of the 47% Governor Romney referenced in his video. He gets assistance from the government through Medicaid. He is on one waiver and on the waiting list for the appropriate one that will provide long term care to see him through the rest of his days on this Earth. The waiver that he will ultimately get will potentially provide him with supported, directed employment or, if he is not capable of gainful employment, day services to allow myself and his father to continue to work until we can afford to retire. It will provide in home support to assist us with his care. All of these things will come at much less to the American taxpayer than institutionalizing him, historically the option for people like him.
He would like to block grant it to the states and let them do as they will, without levels of care or maintenance of effort language. Virginia - let's say my state does not have the greatest history of providing needed care or taking appropriate measures to ensure these needs are funded. It took entering into a settlement with the Department of Justice for violations of Olmstead to get them to do anything. And still there is a waiting list several thousand deep for these waiver services. That is where we are currently. We are fortunate to receive supplemental support right now. This support will not be enough, however, to allow me to continue working, for example, when he graduates from high school.
Even though the Bible teaches us to help people like my son. There are several passages about the needy in the Bible, but this is the one that sticks with me, Matthew 25:40.
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me."
We have a responsibility to help those who can't help themselves. My child is one of those people. That isn't do say that we don't pay medical bills, that we don't or won't pay to care for him, but the fact that long term care for disabled and medically fragile is not covered by traditional insurance and is far beyond the needs of middle class families. We contribute to this system through our taxes - income, payroll, every tax you can think of - and yet Mitt Romney doesn't think our children are worth helping. That is not a reach or stretch in my opinion. It's a fact. How can you propose the cuts he wants and not think that?
I read a great piece in the New York Times regarding what it means to be prolife. By this definition, I am prolife - I am against abortion, against the death penalty, and for helping those who enter this world in need. Governor Romney is not. I think a lot of people are not, because it is a higher standard than most people measure themselves by. Respect for life does not begin and end at the womb. You would be shocked at the number of times people have made comments to me about Jimmy. Certainly people like Delegate Bob Marshall make broad, stupid comments all the time (God's vengeance, my ass), but the number of people that ask everything from "what did you eat/drink/smoke while you were pregnant?" to "didn't you have prenatal testing" to saying that they "aren't sure if educating disabled kids is worth" the expense (a local elected official) to one person who said that I was irresponsible for bringing a disabled child into this world and that he tax dollars shouldn't have to go to caring for "that," pointing at him in his stroller like he was a pariah and not an 8 year old kid. All of these things have happened to us in public. Yes, really. (That's doesn't even get to the R-word episode at Sea World three years ago...) And no one ever wants to get me started on the writings of Ayn Rand and the love that Rep. Paul Ryan has for them.
After all this, you think I would be less shocked at someone like Mitt Romney and the fact that his ideas are so popular. But I still am. I can't believe I am sitting here a week out from the election as completely depressed as I am. I know people vote for other things and no one votes for the sake of a kid like mine unless you have a kid like mine. But I feel like I am watching his future slip away as he is broadly lumped in to this whole 47% and people seize on it like he is some sort of intentional leach on society. He isn't a victim, I am not a victim. Jimmy was born the way God intended. He is beautiful and loving and perfect in a very sad and cruel world. How can you believe in God and not want to help "the least of these, my Brethren"?
I kind of resent the fact that I don't have a choice when I go vote in a week - I have to vote for Democrats because Republicans have taken this stand against people like my child. It isn't solely a Mitt Romney thing - it's a Republican party thing. Why are these people, who seem to think they have cornered the market on the "respect for life and God" so entrenched in the notion that people aren't worth helping.
(Yes, I am writing from a perspective of pure emotion. I think logic left me after the first debate.)