As Texans, we always take care of the least among us.
The frail, the young, the elderly on fixed incomes, those in situations of abuse and neglect, people whose needs are greater than the resources at their disposal – they can count on the people of Texas to be there for them.
We will protect them, support them and empower them, but cannot risk the future of millions of taxpayers in the process. We must cut spending to keep our economic engine on track.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, Jan 18 2011
Excuse me, Governor Perry. Please tell me: what did you mean by that big bunch of nothing.
We will protect them .... but
We will support them .... but
We will empower them .... but
I think you had more meaningful words coming out of your mouth when you were whoop-de-dooing in your Aggie yell-leader jumpsuit.
My son is one of those Texans who could use a little help. I am a Texan. His dad is a Texan. We grew up going to Texas public schools and universities.
We pay taxes. Lots of them.
And we have spent -- hold your breath -- in the six figures trying to obtain the best services for our son, who has severe autism and apraxia and a soul as pure as you will ever find on Earth.
What have we gotten from the state of Texas in the way of help?
Ahhh, let me count it all up. Oh, yes, nothing.
He is on two state waiting-lists for services.
One wait-list is for therapeutic services such as speech and occupational therapy, both of which he has needed his entire life. They are crucial to his ability to one day live as independently as possible, as well as his ability to contribute to society. (Yes, I do, indeed, mean contribute to society, as a working citizen, a goal that is attainable, especially if we could get a little help from a government that, unfortunately, seems more interested in instituitonalizing its disabled citizens than in helping them pave the way to independence.)
The other wait-list is for respite services, which my family could have used years ago.
My son has been on the Texas wait-lists for an entire year. I checked in with the "help-line" yesterday and what do you know. He is number 27,936 on one list and number 14,693 on the other. Which means we might get some help from our government about the time I need a nursing home for myself.
Or maybe not even then.
My state's longest-serving governor is serious about the "cut spending" aspect of his inauguration speech. Preliminary budgets for the state of Texas include more than 16 billion dollars in cuts to health and human services spending.
What does that mean for those who, in the Governor's words, are "count(ing) on the people of Texas to be there for them"?
It means that if you are waiting for help, don't hold your breath. And if you have waited it out and, finally, have received a little government assistance, get prepared to lose it.
What's up, Gov?
Aren't you one of those "pro-family" Republicans? I have yet to figure what the heck that label means to you guys, but it sure doesn't jive with anything I consider "pro-family."
My son has a disabilty. He suffers from a neurological disorder recognized by every pediatrician in the world. Yet, we receive not a red cent in assistance from our medical insurer. We live in the the richest nation in the world, and, yet, we receive no assistance from the federal government. And we have yet to receive one bit of help from the state of Texas, even though our Texas roots run deep into the ground.
The one thing you could do to really give families a hand, Governor Perry, would be to speak out on behalf of the families trying so hard to maximize the potential of their special-needs children. We do not want our sons and daughters to go to one of our state's institutions for the disabled, where they will largely be forgotten, if not abused.
We are struggling under the weight of our children's disabilities.
And, wow, are we struggling: struggling to find and pay for the services that will help our children succeed; struggling to give our typical children the attention they deserve when their disabled brothers and sisters require so much; struggling to maintain our own identities separate and apart from the disabilities that rob our kids; struggling to even remember what a marriage felt like before every waking moment was dominated by worries.
It isn't as if Texas residents endure some unworldly tax burden compared to the rest of our nation.
It isn't as if Texas is somehow making up for its failure to provide for its disabled residents with increased funding to other areas of its social welfare network.
It isn't as if Texas is adeuqately serving our children with its anemic funding of public schools.
I know, Governor, that you sailed to victory in your campaigns. I know that my state is filled with enough Bubbas and gun-lovers and fat-cat-good-ole-boys to keep you around for another ten years or more.
I know that your loyalties do not extend to me and my family.
But if you aren't going to take notice of a "pro-family" need not being met in this state, would you at least drop the lip service about Texans whose needs are greater than the resources at their disposal. This Texan knows BS when she hears it. And I know my opinion counts for nothing, but I'd rather you not pretend to care about anything other than the economic engine behind your political career.