Please take note of our new dock hours: Mon. - Thurs., 8 -11:45am and 12:45pm - 4. Friday, 8 - 12pm.

The Meadows Blog

Politics and Developmental Disabilities

Michael Crawley - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The regrettable state of politics in our nation is a concern for all of us. Unfortunately, many people do not take the actions, or lack of action, by elected officials seriously – until it suddenly affects them personally. But if we allow ourselves to step back and look at the bigger picture, we can see that political decisions impact all of our lives in profound ways.

This is particularly true for citizens with developmental disabilities who rely on the government to act in their best interest regarding their health and safety.

The level of responsibility that elected officials have to protect the welfare of those who are at risk cannot be overstated. When politicians act irresponsibly it is typically those who are vulnerable that suffer the most.

Obviously, it is easy to do the right thing when there is plenty of money. Funding the vital programs that make a difference to people who depend on them to maintain quality of life is not a challenge.

But it becomes a far different matter when there are difficult choices that must be made because there are fewer dollars to go around. But these are the decisions that must be made by the men and women who willingly seek to hold office during both good times and bad.

Although the government rarely embraces budgetary responsibility, we should, at the very least, be able to expect those who represent us to spend the funds available in the most thoughtful, beneficial way.

Budget constraints are never easy. Hard choices have to be made. But there must be careful consideration given to financial cutbacks that are aimed at those who too often do not have a political voice to express their concern and their outrage.

The needs of an individual with a developmental disability should receive the same attention as those of any other person. But instead, they often become faceless collateral damage in the eyes of some legislators who are not concerned about the suffering that results from poor planning and mismanagement. The fact that innocent lives are adversely affected in serious ways does not move them. Their dispassionate approach to meeting basic human needs is disturbing, and, in many ways, their innate sense of right and wrong is compromised, leaving them with the inability to feel empathy for those who are at risk.

To target a group because they might be less likely to understand what is happening or because they struggle to stand up for themselves is immoral at the least and actually cruel in many cases. That is why those of us who care about people with intellectual challenges must be willing to advocate on their behalf.

Cutting funding for the programs that individuals with developmental disabilities depend on, demonstrates a clear lack of compassion, a possible lack of character and a complete lack of knowledge regarding the long struggle that these men and women have waged to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.

To have this progress stopped and reversed is unacceptable. There can be no justifiable explanation for hurting those who innocently trust political leaders to provide them with the support they require.

Unfortunately, some elected officials view constituents with developmental disabilities as less important than other citizens. Some of them believe that people with intellectual challenges are not likely to follow the issues or to vote. Therefore, they are not considered to be a critical part of their political base.

But even if those assumptions are true – it doesn’t matter.

People with developmental disabilities are equal citizens under the law, and they deserve complete representation, just like anyone else.

When a person is voted into political office there is a trust placed in that individual that they will look after the rights and concerns of all their constituents. When that faith is not kept, the trust is broken. Once that occurs, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to repair. When a politician demonstrates their willingness to take advantage of those who do not have the ability or resources to defend their rights, we move in a perilous direction that can do irrevocable harm to society.

That is why it is imperative that elected officials govern with a sense of fairness that is guided by human decency. They have an obligation to embrace change in a way that does not leave some behind. They must look to the future while respecting the efforts made in the past by groups fighting against injustice.

If a political figure cannot meet that criteria they do not deserve to continue to hold office.

Elected officials must understand that they have an opportunity that few have. They have the ability to create laws that govern the lives of others. They can affect change, both positive and negative, with their votes on legislation. They can improve everything from living conditions to educational opportunities. They can ensure that people have adequate and affordable health care.

The men and women who hold political office, wield power that people with developmental disabilities do not possess. Therefore they can have a profound effect on the lives of individuals who are depending on them to make fair decisions. This is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. It is their duty to protect those in society who can be exploited or taken advantage of. To do otherwise is a form of neglect that cannot be tolerated.

In our political system, every person has the same rights. Every person deserves to be heard and understood. Every person deserves representation. Every person is equal.

That means that people who are vulnerable cannot be pushed aside just because it is inconvenient to make the effort to assist them. They cannot be marginalized because it requires funding to give them the support they require to live a rewarding life.

Whether at the state or federal level, the men and women we elect to serve us have the obligation to do exactly that. A political life should be one of service, particularly to those who need assistance so they can participate fully in society.

Governing is not about passing laws that benefit a particular special interest. It’s not about catering to campaign contributors. It’s not about giving preferential treatment to those who lead lives of privilege and prestige.

Governing is about ensuring people’s safety and well-being in all demographics. It’s about creating the opportunities that allow people to move forward with their lives. It’s about making a positive difference for those who entrusted you with power.

Elected officials must treat all of the people they represent with dignity and respect – and that includes individuals with developmental disabilities.

Compassion should always come before cost.




Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.


Why We Are Not Hiring

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 25, 2018

People frequently contact the Meadows to see if we are currently hiring individuals with intellectual challenges. Unfortunately, as much as we wish we could, the answer is NO. 
Read More

The Men and Women of the Meadows

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 18, 2018

The mission of our organization is to provide employment and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities as well as other intellectual and physical challenges. 
Read More

Physical Challenges

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 11, 2018

For those of you who are familiar with the Meadows, you know that on this blog we focus primarily on intellectual challenges. That is because each of the men and women we employ has an IQ of 70 or less, which is the state’s criteria of determining a developmental disability. 
Read More

Public Perceptions

Michael Crawley - Monday, February 05, 2018

As people drive past our building each day it is impossible to get a true sense of what is going on inside our 42,000 sq. ft. facility. That leaves the general public with a natural curiosity about what kind of organization we are and exactly what it is we do. 
Read More

Every Life Matters

Michael Crawley - Sunday, January 28, 2018

Each one of us believes that our life is important. But, unfortunately, our fixation with our own significance can sometimes lead us to presume that other lives don’t matter as much as ours. We often fall into the trap of believing that we are superior and, therefore, by default, others are inferior. 
Read More

More Than A Job

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 22, 2018

Our jobs play an important role in each of our lives. In many ways, they help to define us. For some, it means having the ability to provide for their families. For others, it is a lifelong commitment to a meaningful career. But no matter what the circumstances, our jobs occupy a significant portion of our time. 
Read More

A Friend Is A Friend

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 15, 2018

Friendships are some of the most important relationships we have in life. They add a richness and warmness to our existence. They provide comfort and make us feel connected. They allow us to be understood and accepted for who we are. They provide us with people we can count on during difficult times. And, just as importantly, friendship gives us someone to share our happiest moments with. 
Read More

The Families of the Meadows

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 08, 2018

When an individual arrives for their first day of work at the Meadows, it is an accomplishment resulting from a lifetime of effort. It’s the culmination of years of commitment and dedication. It’s the achievement of a goal that at times seemed unattainable – but is now a reality. 
Read More

The Unseen

Michael Crawley - Monday, January 01, 2018

Most people would be shocked to learn that three out of every one hundred Americans have a developmental disability and that in the United States there are approximately ten million adults, teens, and children with some type of intellectual challenge. 
Read More

The Year Ahead

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A new year is a time to not only reflect on what has been - but to also anticipate what could lie ahead. 
Read More

View Larger Map

The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395