Friday, October 17, 2008

last debate

Two nights ago, I watched the last debate, more out of curiosity than a notion that I might hear something new; I wanted to see how Sen. McCain behaved in light of his declining popularity. Sure enough, neither candidate said anything particularly new and exciting, and each one responded to the other in much the same way they had in the previous debates, one with an awkward chuckle, the other with utter calm and poise.

However, I, along with Orac, a fellow blogger (see, was puzzled by McCain's discussion of autism. Orac, along with others, felt that this was pandering to the "autism-vaccine" people, as well as an attempt to make up for previous incorrect statements about vaccines. I suspect that this is true. But what I found particularly strange was this focus on Gov. Palin's understanding of autism...because she has a child with Trisomy 21? Or does McCain get the two diagnoses confused? They couldn't be more different! I realize that children with autism and with Trisomy 21 both are considered to have special needs but to assume that a parent of one is an expert on the other just doesn't make sense. Maybe he didn't realize that this discussion which he inserted into a statement about reform (and again, how is this related???) would cause a negative stir.

Both as a pediatrician and as a former early interventionist, I am extremely interested in education, including early childhood, special education, and regular education (if you can call it that!). I have been listening carefully to what the candidates have been saying about this. Wednesday night, Sen. McCain proved again to me that he doesn't know much about the topic and that he doesn't really care much about it. Although Sen. Obama hasn't spoken a lot about special education, I am thrilled with his interest/belief in early childhood education. Sadly, with a rotting economy and the "war on terror" to pay for, I don't know how much can truly be done about it, but I think it is a wise investment, even in this economic state. I like Sen. Obama's idea of getting parents more involved, although I don't really know how he can enforce that. But, how can we continue to be a world leader if our educational system is in a similar state to our economy? Certainly, a spending freeze would do nothing for the state of education, it might even diminish Gov. Palin's ability to get early intervention services for her son....Now I'm rambling, so I'll stop. We all know that our future president has an enormous task in front of him (or her, heaven forbid) and will likely not be able to accomplish all his goals, I just hope that the vision of a brighter future will motivate people to go out and VOTE!!!!!

I thought this video from The Onion was quite amusing, helps lower the blood pressure after listening to these debates!!

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