Forget the fact that, if the McCain/Palin ticket won, Sarah Palin would be the first female vice president in history. If the Alaskan hottie made it into the big leagues, would her little cutie, Trig, make it into the annals of history as the first Down Syndrome baby in White House?
Let me know if I'm wrong here, history buffs, but I think this might be a landmark.
After Sarah Palin's Vice Presidential candidate acceptance speech Wednesday night, her beaming family made their way on stage and she embraced her fifth child, Trig Paxson Van Palin. He looked mighty handsome in some sort of dark, rugby-striped onesie affair, his gently hooded almond eyes squinted in the bright lights - and I loved it.
Ol' Trig has Down Syndrome, almost surely the result of being born to parents in their forties, but he was there!
Back in 2000 my daughter Wren was given a death sentence at the tender age of 27 weeks. Without boring you with the highly technical medical details I'll just say that my husband and I were given the choice to abort and try again later, or press on and, at very best, have a really sick kid with serious disabilities.
In those 24-or-so hours - the worst of each of our lives, I believe - in which we had to decide what to do, we weighed the options. And let me tell you that, ultrasound printout in hand and about two hours removed from cooing over a Doppler heart scan, Down Syndrome - the extra 21st chromosome disorder for which doctors routinely prescribe "pregnancy termination" upon a parent's request - sounded like heaven to us!
"Down Syndrome?? Walk in the park!" we thought, walking the fine line between hope and denial. "Downs kids compete in Special Olympics, they live long happy lives these days! Heck that kid who played 'Corky' on Life Goes On is doing alright for himself, right?!"
But it wasn't meant to be. And while I wouldn't trade the Tasmanian Devil we spawned after Wren's birth and death for anything in the world, it gave me a completely emotional, illogical feeling of glee (and pang of jealousy) to see Palin up on stage with her little five-month bundle of extra-chromosomed joy Wednesday night.
Setting aside her politics, her stances on issues, her running mate's baggage - and pretty much everything else of substance - I homed in on something I liked. Something that might make the whole fiasco slightly ok - or maybe just not as bad - if our lesser of two evils choice for President swings Republican.
During her speech Palin said: "To the families of special needs children all across this country I have a message for you: for years you've sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that if we are elected you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."
I tuned out the subtext about whether that might mean more Bush-ian "pro-life," anti-choice who-knows-what and focused on the already living. There are millions of children and adults in this country struggling daily with disabilities and special needs.
A mom advocate - of any political affiliation - and a baby role-model to disabled kiddies all over the world in the White House would be a wonderful thing.