When I was in high school in the 1980s, during the summers my friends and I would drive around the mid-Atlantic states to see the Grateful Dead. I’ve also seen Jefferson Airplane, CSN, Pink Floyd and other groups in that genre. Long hippie skirts, tie-dyed shirts, jingly bell bracelets on our ankles….that was us.
In 1990, I was in college and those same friends and I went to center city Allentown to participate in a protest, protesting the first war in Iraq. It was at 7th and Hamilton and was my first official protest.
Fast forward a few years, and when PA Act 62 was being discussed and considered, I marched into State Senator Pileggi’s office, with an infant Kevin in tow in his baby carrier, and told them I wanted them to pass Act 62 (requires insurance companies to cover autism).
Fast forward a few more years to spring of 2011 when a friend and I started this blog. In July of 2011 I did my first op-ed piece on this blog called “All Children Left Behind,” a liberal leaning piece about the need for education reforms.
Since then, I have done posts about….
- Remembering Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy and all that he did for the disability community
- The day when Tom Harkin retired and I cried, remembering all that he did for the disability community.
- An op-ed piece arguing for pro-choice
- Many op-eds on the need for gun control in this country
- Editorials and endorsements for liberal/progressive candidates such as Katie McGinty (when she ran for PA Governor) and John Fetterman (ran for US Senate)
In all fairness, in other essays, and on Facebook, I have been very critical of President Obama’s lack of attention to education, how much I disliked Arne Duncan and how I very much wish that Obama had made education a priority for his tenure. But he didn’t, and I don’t see that changing within the next 60 days, so it is what it is.
My point here?
I’ve been taking a lot of criticism lately. A lot of finger wagging. And a lot of calls for me to “remain neutral.” This has significantly increased in the last weeks of the election and the days since the election. A lot of calls for “no political talk.” I say–
I am sorry if you never noticed my liberal posts before. I am sorry if you are weary of the criticism of Conservatives and our new President-elect, particularly if you are a supporter.
This is nothing new for me. This is who I am and who I have always been. I am a proud liberal/progressive. And I don’t intend to stop now.
I don’t have to remain neutral. This is my personal blog. Yes, it contains valuable IEP assistance for parents, and anyone is welcome to read that. But that doesn’t mean I cannot have an opinion. To the contrary, advocates are usually very opinionated and outspoken.
There are two kinds of advocacy-
- individual advocacy-advocating for an individual person or family, to help make their situation better
- systems advocacy-advocating for changing systems
I do both. And I always have, and will continue to encourage my readers to engage in the second one-systems advocacy. Because that is where the real change is needed. Right now, I am in the camp who believes that the proposed changes with the new administration are terrible for special needs families. Most special needs advocacy groups agree upon this. As each day passes, it only gets worse, not better.
So no, I don’t have to give him a chance. I don’t have to sit back and ‘wait and see’ what he proposes. He has proposed many things during the past 18+ months that I abhor, so I have no plans to sit back and allow it to happen. Not without voicing my opinion to my legislators and encouraging others to do the same.
My opinions have always been here. And they will continue to be here. I am not chasing anyone away. However, you will not be allowed, either on the Facebook page or the Facebook group, threaten to leave and then keep coming back and criticizing me. If you threaten to leave, the admins will help you along with your decision.
The people who have been banned from the page or the group have not been banned for their beliefs. It was either a rude, direct attack on someone else, or not following the guidelines, such as constant self-promotion. I also will remove people from the group who I refer to as “fountains of misinformation.” These are people who claim to be advocates, but simply do not know the system and are constantly giving the wrong information. All of these things have my name attached to them, and I try my best to make sure that information is accurate. If you continually give inaccurate information, you’re removed. That’s only fair to the parents who need assistance.
So, wrapping up…. I wish you all peace and comfort this holiday season. Again, I am not asking anyone to leave the group or page. But I cannot change who I am or what I am passionate about.