A difference in expectations, part two

Two great kids, one with diabetes and the other with Down syndrome, and it’s an election year. What’s the relevance, you ask? Consider:

Last weekend we joined our friends and family for the annual Buddy Walk. It’s an event designed to “promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome” and it’s quite an affair. Musicians, eating, playing, raffles, auctions, and on. Not to mention the actual mile or so walk. It’s a huge event that lasted well over three hours with an almost unimaginable amount of prep work beforehand for sponsors, catering, and so on.

It was also a really good time. The walk took place at a local facility called Reunion Ranchin Georgetown. A large, wooded area with tons of playscapes, trails, and water activities; it was absolutely perfect.

A few weeks before the that, we were at another event for JDRF Austin. Also a walk, this event focused on food, fun, and fund-raising in an effort to combat juvenile diabetes. The location wasn’t nearly as cool as the Buddy Walk, but it was a great time, too.

The interesting thing is this: While the Buddy Walk was all about hanging out, having a good time, and getting the kids and up with DS involved and interactive, the JDRF walk was all about finding a cure.

Community vs. activism.

Clearly, it’s much more complex than I’ve broken down above, but when you consider the silver bullet of research for diabetes could be stem cells, how does that impact votes? My family wore a shirt with “Vote for the Cure” on the back, so no surprise which button we’ll push on election day, but what does the Repbulican with a son or daughter who has diabetes do? How do they vote?

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7 comments

  1. So what exactly are you talking about. It sounds like you are saying that if you vote Repbulican there will never be a cure for diabetes.

  2. Ron,
    Thanks for the comment. I’m certainly not saying a victory for Repulicans in a few weeks means no cure for diabetes. That being said, if stem cell research is “the silver bullet” in finding that cure, a Republican executive branch is very likely to fight against it. Not because Republicans have an issue with finding a cure for diabetes, but rather because of the religious implications involved. And, if religious/moral ideology is such that stem cell research is voted down, vetoed, etc, diabetes research is clearly impacted as a result.
    Think about it this way – say you’re a Republican but you’re also pro choice. Now assume (just go with this) that you know your daughter is going to become pregnant with an unplanned child three years from now. Because the Republican platform (as well as the statements of both the presidential and vice presidential candidates) is pro life, there’s a good possiblity the next Supreme Court judge appointed could have an impact on Roe vs. Wade. And, if a Republican is elected and they put another conservative on the bench, there’s a real possiblity that decision could be overturned. Then your daughter’s right to an abortion is gone.
    So what do you do? You’re pro choice but your political ideology (in that instance) runs contrarty to your personal beliefs. How do you vote?

  3. I agree that most Republicans are against stem cell research but John McCain is NOT. I also believe that Sara Palen has a different outlook on the subject considering her situation. I believe when it comes to your own child, this can change your views and opinions on anything. As far as abortion goes. How far do you think it should go? I do not have any daughters so it is not a major issue to me. You do have a daughter. Let’s say your daughter is 13 and gets pregnant but does not want to tell you or your wife. She goes to her school counselor who takes her to get an abortion without your consent or knowledge. Are you ok with that? Or a woman is 7 months pregnant before she decides that she wants an abortion. Is that ok? I don’t think it is as simple as, are you pro life of pro choice. I believe most people do not think abortion should be out right illegal. It is just a matter of how far it should go. I think Obama and most other Democrats want no restrictions what so ever. So again how far does it go. Do we go so far as to a woman delivers the baby to term before she decides that she does not want it and they kill the baby on the spot. I realize that sound a bit extreme, but that is what some people feel.

  4. Hi Michael, Hi Ron:

    As a female who has birthed two remarkable (if I do say so myself) children, abortion is a very important topic to me. Although I am now a mother of two, I was a woman first. As much as I love my children, I was also prepared and ready to shoulder the responsibility. I also had a loving and supportive husband and extended family that were equally thrilled to welcome them into our lives.

    However, this is not the case with every pregnancy, and abortion is currently an option to those who may not be ready to handle the responsibility. Pro lifers may say that adoption is an option, or that there are other options outside of abortion to consider. But, as a woman, I cannot imagine a world where the government is telling me what I can or cannot do with my body – period. We don’t tell others how to eat, sleep, what to do with their spare time, so why would it be acceptable to tell people what to do with their bodies?

    I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but when it infringes upon someone’s rights(yes, our bodies are ours), then it crosses the line. I believe that people try and categorize it simply as pro life or pro choice, but as with all aspects of life, it is never that simple. I recently read an article on late term abortions…ugh is what pro life people may say. However, that is judging from the sidelines. I read the individual stories of these women, and I was sobbing for them.

    Many of the stories were of pregnancies that took ill-fated turns – such as the baby suffering from a terrible disease or the mother’s life was in danger, etc. Those women made gut wrenching decisions and chose abortion. Now they are branded as “killers” by others. Who are we to judge?

    Not to discredit men’s opinions at all in this category, but this topic will never be on the same playing field as men are not told by the law what they can or cannot do to their bodies. In my opinion, Roe v. Wade was an important step for women, and I will always vote for those who will continue that path.

  5. Hope,
    Thanks for the comment. If your children are anything like their mom and dad, I have no doubt they’re a tad more than remarkable. I’m just sayin’.

    As far as your thoughts above – pretty sure you and I are on the same page almost straight down the line. Keep in mind, abortion rights was just one example of why this election was so important to me, and to many. Pundits and cynics might think ‘hope’ isn’t a platform, but I for one sorely needed it after years of the current administration. And the possibility of locking down the bench with a far right majority was a scary thing, indeed.

    All that to say, I’m absolutely pro choice, and for many of the reasons you listed above. And, as you stated, I also think it’s quite a bit more complicated than pro life or pro choice. But I also think it’s more complicated than simply the right a woman has to control her body. To think otherwise is to refuse to acknowledge the existence of religious, moral, and ethical questions connected with the issue.

    There are many good, kind, and strongly religious folks who see abortion as murder, and do so because of those beliefs. Are they wrong? Are they misinterpreting whatever holy text they’re reading? Are their religious leaders making the same errors?

    What of the pro life man whose girlfriend/wife/lover decides to terminate a viable pregnancy; whatever those reasons might be? What happens to his rights for the son or daughter he helped create? Again, I don’t know.

    What I do know is that it’s a complicated issue. There are exceptions, as in the nutjobs who branded those ladies “killers,” but I think most people who feel strongly about it do so out of an honest sense of right and wrong, no matter what side of the issue they stand.

    One final thought – if the only issue was a woman’s right to control her body, I think you’re absolutely right: we men should have a drink and shut the hell up. But, at least in the case of the two examples above, I think gender is only one part of the discussion.

    All that to say, January 20th is going to be a beautiful day!

  6. Hey Michael,

    Absolutely there are more dimensions to the argument, and yes, there was more than the abortion platform during this past election. With a divided household, we did our due diligence and researched the candidates and their stances on major issues. Even with differing opinions that had my husband and me on different sides, we both agree with stem cell research, which I believe was a major discussion point in your blog.

    I think there is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to everyone’s beliefs. I do believe, however, judging others when we do not know what put them in their situations creates misunderstanding and intolerance, things that this country needs less of. Having said that, I will get off my soapbox and go back to reading your blogs, my friend.

    1. Sweet mama, soapbox away – that’s the whole point of the blog! How long has it been since we’ve had the opportunity to debate? Too long.
      I’m happy you found your way here and ask you to keep me honest. You know me – the straight and narrow is a slippery slope, if you don’t mind me mixing my metaphors.

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