Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mrs Freddallas responds to Mrs Palin about America's Need for Change

Like millions of other American women, I listened to Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech last night. Much of what she said resonated with me. I’m a mom – admittedly, a soccer mom, not a hockey mom – and there are special needs children in my family. (You know the difference between a Texas soccer mom and a pit bull? The soccer mom is the one lugging the heavy jugs of ice water, cutting up the fruit slices, and dragging equipment bags around in the hear – the dog is the one lolling in the shade while mom sweats.)

But the key points in Sarah Palin’s speech didn’t resonate with me the way they might have.

On the subject of special needs children, I was thrilled to hear that she promises to be an advocate for them in the White House. Of course, Barack Obama has promised to be more than an advocate – he’s promised to change the law so that insurance companies can no longer refuse to insure a person born with a birth defect for life, even if the birth defect was corrected when they were children. When Gov. Palin gave birth to a special needs child, that child was guaranteed health care. When my 19-year-old son and his girlfriend presented me with a special needs grandchild, the Texas legislature had just enacted “insurance reform” that allowed insurance companies in Texas to refuse to insure grandchildren (even if the grandparents are raising them, unless they go through the VERY difficult process of having parental rights severed and adopt the children), and to refuse coverage to special needs children who are born uninsured, even if their parents later secure a job with a company that offers comprehensive health care. Millions of parents of special needs children know that losing their jobs means a lifetime of financial struggle for their child, because once that coverage is lost, it may never be regained.

Gov. Palin talked about tax reform. As a small business owner, that should have touched me where I live. Unfortunately, Gov. Palin and Senator McCain (and Senators Obama and Biden) will be inheriting a federal budget overstrained with trillions of dollars in costs for two wars and the ramping up of the largest expansion of the federal government since the Great Depression (the Department of Homeland Security). Whether those expenses were necessary or not – and I tend to agree with Gov. Palin that we must defend ourselves from terrorists – the truth is that without taxes, our government will simply be unable to meet its obligations.

She asked how a small business owner would be better off if Senator Obama’s plans are enacted. Well, I can answer that. Nearly a third of my overhead budget – the part where I pay for health care coverage for my employees – would vanish overnight under Sen. Obama’s plan. Would my taxes go up? Not likely. We simply don’t earn enough from my husband’s teaching job and part-time retail job, and my small business to do more than get by. (Note that providing health insurance for my employees does NOT guarantee that I can buy health insurance for my granddaughter, born with a heart defect, at any price, or that I can cover my bookkeeper, who is a cancer survivor, or that I can purchase health insurance for myself because I am over 55.)

As for the notion that having a mother of five a heartbeat away from the presidency, I admit that one did touch me. I supported Senator Clinton – and one of these days, I AM going to vote for a woman candidate who wins the top job in this country. But it won’t be Sarah Palin.

I’m no beauty queen. I didn’t grow up in a state like Alaska that pays its citizens $800 per year per person in dividends from oil and gas revenues – an amount that Governor Palin increased via one-time payments last year. I don’t have the luxury of company (or state) provided health care, disability insurance, and guaranteed pensions. So, for me, Senator Obama’s message of affordable health care for all, shoring up social security, and providing a government that actually provides a safety net for citizens resonates far more than Governor Palin’s stirring rhetoric.

It’s really too bad. I tuned in to her speech, hoping to hear something that would move me into her camp – I figured if I couldn’t cast my vote for Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin might be a good substitute. But last night’s speech proved one thing.

I know Hilary Clinton, and Sarah Palin is no Hilary Clinton.

Mrs. Freddallas

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