Monday, December 12, 2011

A change in perspective

Check out this wonderful volunteer's story of how meeting with their representatives, with the help of the Utah Autism Coalition, helped change their focus of autism. You may click here for the original post, or you may read it below. I hope this helps motivate YOU to find ways to get involved and help our kids with autism!
Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure, even the honor of visiting with my representatives and senators to tell them our story of  autism and share with them a brief glimpse into the world that all of us have been forced to live. For me personally, this has been a great opportunity to become more aware of who my representatives are and the role they play in framing the future of the next generation, that being the generation of my children.

For myself, I have been skeptical of our representatives merely because of the constant bickering, finger pointing and apparent lack of desire to put political party lines aside and come to a resolution on how to face head on the dire state our country faces. Honestly, how many of us watch what goes on in Washington and not ask ourselves who are they really serving? The country or big business? Working for the Department of Defense, I see the political side of life all too often and in so many ways I am disgusted and  disappointed that as a country we have such little respect for the person across the aisle; that we are often unwilling to make any compromise. In this day of instant media, maybe our representatives simply don’t want to make a  controversial statement or support the “wrong” bill in fears that the term they are serving will come to an end with a defeat in the next election.

That said, I want to share an impression I have of some of my representatives. In the past few months, I have met with a senator and multiple  state representatives either at their homes or at mine. The first thing that I have noticed is that each individual we have spoken to has been extremely interested and willing to listen to our story. Each one has shown genuine sympathy for the situation and has been an engaged participant in the discussion. Each of these discussions has proven to be highly productive, mutual information sharing sessions. For each person involved, from mom and dad to the  public official, we have been able to express our concerns, share ideas and gain  a perspective we might not have otherwise had the opportunity to gain without  the one-to-one sit down. It has truly been an enlightening opportunity for me, showing that the portrayal of our representatives, at least what we see as Americans, is not always as it seems. I have found that my representatives are  caring individuals with a genuine concern for their community, their constituents and their country. These gentlemen that I have met with truly exhibit the quote of my idol Abraham Lincoln, “a government of the people, by the people, for the people”. I am grateful and tremendously appreciative of the opportunity that I have had to meet these men and share with them.

There is someone else that I want to express my appreciation for, that is Mirella Peterson, President of the Utah Autism Coalition. Mirella has been a driving force behind putting these meetings together and the catalyst  to get this movement heading in the right direction. I appreciate the efforts that Mirella has made to set these meetings up and the confidence she has shown  in me to represent this movement. Thank you Mirella for all phone calls, emails and research you have done to facilitated a positive and fruitful opportunity to interact with our representatives.