It is not enough that we do our best, sometime we have to do what is required.
- Winston Churchill
I saw that quote last week and immediately thought of parents in both New York and California. Coming together to express concerns over their state’s proposed legislation, parents in both New York and California organized their efforts as soon as they learned what their legislators were doing. As has happened before, the legislation would limit a parent’s right versus protect it. Brave doesn’t fully describe those people who were willing to stand up against it. Nor does passionate or determined. In fact, with everything these moms and dads have already done, I can’t think of a word that would do them justice.
Parents in both states were doing more than just standing up to illogical lawmakers. They were doing more than just letting their voices be heard. They were representing more than just their opinions and desires. Facing their fears, standing up to elected politician, and making quite an impressive statement while at it, is not what they may have envisioned themselves having to do; but they did all of that and more. That’s because if these parents didn’t stand up for themselves and for their children, legislators could quickly take parental and educational rights away.
These parents did their best to protect their rights. They did their best to protect their child’s right to an education, too. But legislators in both NY and CA were successful with their plan – which took both of those rights away. This time, with CA’s SB276, s doctor’s right to practice was also jeopardized. Where they were once able to determine and write a medical exemption for a patient, that decision will now be up to the State.
Those parents in NY and CA may not have thought that fighting legislation and close-minded politicians would be part of parenting, but they are doing that now because that’s what is required. What’s required?
-traveling long hours to the state capitals
-standing in long lines while waiting to gain entry into public hearings
-facing the opposition, many of whom were less than polite
-dealing with uneducated representatives and their staff
-being misrepresented by the media
It also meant mustering the strength to continue to show up even though those who should be listening and helping were doing the opposite, and quite possibly, had planned to do that all along.
What else is a parent to do? They showed up. They spoke up. They did their best. Parents are not done having this conversation! They must do what is required. Today, tomorrow, and until they are truly heard, I know that they will do just that.
Legislation in California that should have protected the people – and not an industry, was passed once again into law. In the process, thousands of children’s health and educational needs were traded for political gain. And, once again because of similar legislation, parents in NY were denied the chance to send their healthy children to school. Many worked hard to strip parents, families, and the children themselves of their rights and were victorious once again. I didn’t think working so fiercely against the people was part of a judge’s, a senator’s, an assemblyman’s, and a governor’s job description. But that’s exactly what I saw happen once again in the USA this week.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.