We were big fans of the show "Life Goes On" starring Chris Burke, an actor with Down syndrome in the 90's, before my daughter was born. Chris' character Corky was a happy, well adjusted teenager who just happened to have an extra chomosome. Sometimes Down syndrome was a issue, as when he wasn't able to play football with his Dad, due to his spinal instability, and Patti LuPone, as Corky's Mom, did a great job of sensitively discussing the pain of having restrictions put on his activities. This gave society a positive, yet realistic view of life with Down syndrome. And although, I don't like the downward trajectory of morality in the show"Secret Life of the American Teenager", I do appreciate the fact that Grace's adopted brother has Down syndrome. The more postiive TV and movie roles we can give to people with Down syndrome, the less strange they seem, and the less likely babies with Trisomy 21 will be aborted. The abortion rate is currently a tragic 90%.
Sadly, the Down syndrome community which has become more vocal in recent years, in defending the rights and dignity of people with Trisomy 21, dropped the ball over the recent episode of "Family Guy". Because the girl dating Peter Griffin's son was mocking Sarah Palin (she was the daughter of the Governor of Alaska) they seemed to feel awkward protesting her inclusion in the show. The Down syndrome community didn't support Palin, they are not pro-life and she seems to embarrass them. So, when the song "Down Syndrome Girl" denigrating young women with Down syndrome was nominated for an Emmy, the only protest the Down Syndrome Congress coud muster was to request that the horrible song not be performed at the ceremony. Too little, too late.
Here are the song's despicable lyrics:
"And though her pretty face may seem a special person's wettest dream ...No song with those degrading lyrics could be even considered for an award if it were about gays, or a religious, ethnic or racial group. Only vulnerable people who lack the ablility to stand up for themselves are subjected to this type of humiliation. I hope that young men who hear this song do not consider my beautful daughter an easy target, it is a sad fact that children with disabilies are already subjected to more sexual abuse than others.
"You must impress that ultra-boomin', all consumin', poorly-groomin' Down Syndrome girl ... You wanna take that little whore and spin her on the dancing floor ... My boy, between the two of us we'll get you on that shorty bus. ...
"Now go impress that super-thrilling, wish-fulfilling, YooHoo-spilling, ultra-swinging, boner-bringing ... as of Monday shoe lace-tying ... just a little crooked walking, coyly-pouting, booby-sprouting ... happiness and joy-creating, Down Syndrome girl."
If the Down syndrome advocacy community were pro-life as they should be (what kind of advocacy group stands by while 90% of babies with Ds are aborted?) they would be proud of Sarah Palin, her courageous choice to give birth to Trig while she was governor, and the positive publicity he has brought to those with an extra chomosome. When the National Down Syndrome Society, and the National Down Syndrome Congress came out with a document entitled, "Towards Concurrance" in 2008 which stated that they are NOT pro-life, their strength to defend the vulnerable was undermined, allowing such outrages to continue.We who know the blessings of loving someone with Down syndrome have formed two pro-lie Down syndrome advocacy groups: Keep Infants with Down Syndrome, (KIDS) and The International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life (IDSC for Life). Both groups support the right of children with Trisomy 21 to be born, and live with dignity. We disagreed with the character from the start, as it was merely a ruse to mock Sarah Palin and her son Trig.
Read a post a the blog The Statesman about the song here.