I apologize in advance if I make no sense.
I’m all jacked up right now on albuterol and codeine. I didn’t sleep last night. My ribs and throat and ears hurt from all the coughing. I look in the mirror - and this may be the codeine talking - but I SWEAR I see Charlie Sheen looking back at me. Except without the tiger blood. Or the goddesses.
So, I was going to call in sick to Hopeful Parents this month. But I can’t. Instead, I need to channel my drug-induced inner Charlie Sheen and give you a full-force, all-out, face-to-the-camera rant.
Something is very wrong in New Hampshire. Or something is very wrong in the current political climate in our country. All I know is, something is very, very wrong. There is a pendulum swinging away from hope and change, and it seems to be heading directly at my son.
There were two news stories this week – both out of New Hampshire – that prompted this rant. The first was from a budget committee meeting in Conway, in which the topic was funding for special education. In this video footage of the meeting, budget committee member Ray Shakir makes his case:
“The individual responsible for special education said at one of our meetings that there was no such thing as an uneducatable person. I would dispute that fact. There are certainly individuals that are uneducatable… I am simply suggesting to you and everybody else that there should be a line drawn where the taxpayer is responsible to educate certain people. I am not suggesting by any means that we should not educate people with disabilities at all. I’m just suggesting to you that there should be a point at which taxpayer considerations should be paramount… that there are people in this community – many, many people in this community – that are living day to day that cannot afford to spend money on people who are and, for all intents and purposes, will be living on the government dole for the rest of their lives. That’s all I’m saying… That’s the way it is. You people are divorced from reality.”
Remember that Shakir’s words were not captured on hidden camera or in a secret recording over drinks with supporters, which, certainly, would have been bad enough. Instead, Shakir shared his vitriolic opinion with pride, in a public forum, to a room full of citizens, fully aware that he was being captured on film by the local news team.
And if these are the things he is saying on camera, what is he saying behind closed doors?
Who are we electing?
And why are we electing them?
Why are we electing people like New Hampshire state representative Martin Harty, who, according to the Concord Monitor, this week said the world would be better off without “defective people.” He further clarified his statement, saying, “"You know the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions - the defective people society would be better off without."
Harty then offered his solution: "I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population." He later characterized it as “a joke.”
Good one, huh?
Both of these incidents occurred in the same week in which the New Hampshire state legislature began hearings on proposed budget cuts that far exceed the dramatic cuts already proposed by the Governor. The House proposes cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services that would have devastating effects on families of children with special needs.
These examples come from one state in fifty, but the issues are not unique to New Hampshire. People are frightened in the current economic climate, and some are too quick to protect their own interests by ignoring the interests of some of the most vulnerable members of their communities.
But there are voices of reason. If you watch the video from the Conway budget committee meeting – and I hope you will – you will hear the impassioned voice of a citizen at the microphone, who responds to Shakir’s unfathomable diatribe, saying, “Mr. Shakir, you are physically making me sick right now... What you are saying, Mr. Shakir, is immoral, unethical, and illegal. I demand your immediate resignation from this budget committee.” The crowd erupts in cheers.
A petition is underway calling for the resignation of Martin Harty.
This afternoon, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch issued a press release , in which he urges the House to reconsider their proposed cuts, saying, “I am deeply disturbed by the apparent direction of the House Finance budget. These proposals would seriously impair the operation of state government and services that the people of New Hampshire need.”
We need to empower the voices of reason. We need to become them. Whether we live in New Hampshire or elsewhere, we need to stay engaged, speak out, write letters, and take a stand.
We need to rant on behalf of our children - even if we’re all jacked up on albuterol and codeine and operating on a few hours sleep - even if we’re sore and we’re tired and it all seems like more than we can manage.
There are people out there – people in positions of power - who make no sense.
We have to take them on.
When she’s not jacked up on albuterol and codeine, MOM-NOS blogs at Mom – Not Otherwise Specified. Today she’s trying to set her own health concerns aside to send healing thoughts and comfort to the people of Japan, and to all who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami.