December 14, 2010

The grounds of the local pet cemetery are decorated with many seasonal grave blankets in memory of treasured pets. The local “people” cemetery exhibits far fewer remembrances of those who have passed.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon the local dog park is busy, the parking lot almost full as pet owners cavort with their canine companions on the still green grass. The town park around the corner with ball fields and playground is completely empty...except for an elderly couple taking a walk.
The O List this holiday season suggests a handpainted picture of your friend’s dog on a lovely tray for $350 “destined to become an heirloom.”

I can’t help but wonder if our actions and our priorities send unvoiced messages to the representatives of our communities that make the policies that govern our lives. The New Year will bring much discussion about budgets and what will get cut, what needs to be done, and where our tax dollars should be spent. The more than 27,000 families in this state caring for loved ones with developmental disabilities have prioritized the needs of their children every day of their lives. They value the lives of their children when, often, others do not. They seek services based on the principles that families know best what their children need and that families cannot do it alone. They hope that someday their children will be respected members of their communities.
Priorities, values, principles, respect. Have the tenets of our communities somehow become warped? Have they forgotten what should be important in their lives? Maybe why they have forgotten is the better question.

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