There’s little doubt that the introduction of Sarah Palin (and baby Trig) into 2008 campaign rhetoric has raised the level of voting frenzy to new heights, especially for those directly impacted by special needs issues. 

You either love the idea of voting Palin and her special needs family in, or you are proceeding with great caution. You might also be one of those voters loudly proclaiming the sky is falling.

Chicken Little fears aside, it seems there’s little in between these days, which is good, because all the heated discussions are getting people riled up and involved in the political process.  
Ah, the beauty of a democracy!
As a writer/speaker/author who has covered special needs parenting issues for nearly two decades, I’ve been thrilled to finally see valuable special needs discussion brought out of the closet and into regular mainstream media coverage nationwide, whatever helped cause the ruckus.  
Halleluia!  It’s about time.
But I also think this ground-breaking opportunity makes it crucial that we all slow down and take some long deep, cleansing breaths, chant a few peaceful oms, and then educate ourselves well about candidates and issues before making big decisions. Voting special needs emotion and mudslinging points not based in fact is dangerous territory, evident by our country’s past voting sins.  
Someone needs to be the voice of reason.  Might as well be you.
What qualities do you want in your president?  Your vice president?  Do these people have those qualities? Don’t waste YOUR valuable vote.  No one candidate will prove to be the special needs Messiah.  Some may be more promising than others, however.  
That means you must educate yourself (there’s those two words again!).  Yes, I’m talking about doing some important homework, just like all good moms and dads make their children do, especially before a big test. Even a little studying can result in more intelligent action at the polls in November and beyond.  I want to make an educated decision, one good for my country, my family, and myself, especially during these tremendously challenging times. 
I don’t want flunk this important exam.
Try hard not to get drawn in by cute babies, cool glasses, what ifs, shameful ads and all that other political jazz. Get past all the emotion and history making claims on both sides and check the candidates records and their stands on special needs issues. The facts are out there.  You may have to dig through an enormous amount of junk to find them, but our country’s future is worth the effort.
Educate, educate, educate! What an exciting concept!  Isn’t democracy and a vote a wonderful thing?  Learn more.
Then go to the polls with your child’s best interests (and yours) clearly in mind before you click that lever in that voting booth.  Otherwise you might as well be voting with a blindfold over your eyes, and and haven’t we had enough of that kind of voting action in recent years?  Aren’t you tired of the kind of decision making that helps squander your precious vote because you aren’t properly informed?  Embrace your political power, however limited it may first appear.
Are you ready for real change, including as it impacts special needs?
The candidates have captured our attention big time and they will continue to milk it for all its worth. But WE vote them in.  One vote can make a difference.  Don’t waste yours. Casting your vote is one powerful example of effective personal advocacy at work, action that can and does lead to change at the highest levels in political arenas that count.  
When the last vote has been counted, how will your life change for the better?  Or will it?
You want world peace?  You’ve gotta vote for it.  You want a better economy? You’ve gotta vote for it?  You want to save the planet?  You gotta vote for it. You want free speech?  You’ve gotta vote for it.  You want real inclusion and better services and accessibility for your children? You’ve gotta vote for it.  Intelligent, informed voting leads to real change and better lives for all kids, including those with special needs.  
Don’t take your vote lightly. Don’t vote rhetoric, and don’t you dare vote for Paris Hilton, no matter how badly you want to be her new BFF!
Here are two helpful links to get you started on educating yourself. Hey, I’ve have to do my homework on the issues, too. I know that’s exactly what my adorable, wise son (pictured above) would want me to do before I close that curtain on election day.
Rock the vote! -Your own to be exact.
Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations