I have always been socially liberal but a huge supporter of school vouchers and controlled government. I am a Florida resident; Mike was diagnosed under Governor Lawton Chiles and was basically offered no services to treat his autism. I supported Governor Jeb Bush and applauded the changes he implemented for Florida residents with disabilities. I’ve lobbied for people with autism on both sides of the isle, both state and federal.
I was honored to have Senator Hillary Clinton take the time to speak with my daughter about having a sibling with autism, and then acknowledge her struggles during her speech. I was proud that my Representative, Adam Putman recognized me on the street in DC. My son’s voice was being heard and I was seeing change. The best way I can define my politics is to say that I was my father’s daughter – I was a Republican.
In 2012, Governor Mitt Romney was running for President against President Barak Obama. There was a significant amount of debate about healthcare and Medicaid issues. Since Mike is covered under Medicaid, I truly wanted to take a closer look at what both parties were proposing. So, there I sat, watching Martin Bashir on MSNBC – not certain who I was going to vote for:
“WTF – Did he just say, CHARITY?”
YES, his response to funding the proposed cuts for the basic care of disabled Americans was that the funds would be provided by the charitable contributions of corporations. My son should live on CHARITY?!
(INSERT MOMENT OF SHOCK, DISGUST & DISBELIEF)
The next day, I threw on my vintage Jeb Bush t-shirt, jeans, flip-flops, and my big sunglasses and headed to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The entire city was on lockdown and I was surprised that there were no public areas for residents. Like many locals, I wandered the street looking for politicians and/or celebrities.
During my journey, I stumbled upon the headquarters for the Tea Party compound. Entrance to ‘the compound’ required security clearance, which I did not have. While I was speaking with the intern holding the clipboard of approved guests, I was approached by Stephen Bannon, the director of the movie, ‘Occupy Unmasked’ and frequent Fox News Channel guest. He is basically the Michael Moore of the Republican Party. Long story short, Mr. Bannon, in HIS words, has “a thing for blonds” – I was cleared and he escorted me into the event. Mr. Bannon was even kind enough to allow me to interview him for my Facebook friends.
Unable or unwilling to answer my questions, Mr. Bannon decided that I wasn’t exactly his type of blond. He alerted security and I proceeded into the party to mingle with the other guest.
After a brief conversation with a Tea Party Radio talk-show host, I was placed ON THE AIR to discuss the proposed Medicaid cuts. Again, it was stated to me that the Republican Party’s solution to their proposed budget cuts for the disabled was “charity”.
I left the event knowing who to vote for …
My message to ALL of my then, fellow Republicans was simple:
My son is a Severely Disabled United States CITIZEN
– He is NOT a Charity-Case!!