A lot of people are sure who they’re voting for, but I’m finding that not as many people are sure why they’re casting their vote for their chosen candidate. I know a lot of Trump fans who are just that — fans. When I ask why they support him, they say, “He’s so funny.” (Not a reason to elect a President, folks.) A lot of people I know do not like Trump, but they support him anyway, simply because he’s Republican, and Republicans generally believe in pro-life or no gun control. I’ve met people who are voting for Hillary Clinton simply because she’s a woman, or people who are pro-Bernie because they’re Democratic, but they don’t want a woman. I met a woman the other day who told me she is very conservative and always votes Republican no matter what, but she just wasn’t sure if Trump was the man for the job. She asked who I was voting for, and after I explained that the reason for my vote had a story behind it, she told me she was so impressed, she was moved to change her vote because of it…
In 1999, I relocated from Central Florida to Central New York. I had visions of New York being more upscale that Florida, more progressive, more expensive, and more lucrative. I was wrong on all counts except the expense.
In Florida, on just about every street corner, you can find a daycare center, an after school kid care, or another such facility such as dance studio, karate center, or gymnastics gym that picks up kids after school and cares for them until 6:00 when their parents get out of work. The cost at the time for one child was approximately $30 a week.
That was one of the first things I found to be quite different when I moved to New York. I had six-year old Jeremy who was in Kindergarten, and ten-year old Stefani who was in the fourth grade, and other than them and my sister, Michelle, we didn’t know another soul in the Empire State, so we had no one to ask how these things were handled.
What I found was that there were essentially NO kid care facilities whatsoever in my county. What they had instead were county licensed “babysitters” who were allowed to run “home daycare centers.” Since I moved there mid-school year, there were only two available women on the list. The first woman was the wife of a military man, and she said they would be moving before the end of the school year. So, I moved on to my last hope… A woman named Rachael R.
Since Rachael and I shared the same first name (though hers was spelled wrong), I took that as a good sign. Boy was I wrong! She charged $140 a week (yes, really!) to watch my kids after school for a couple of hours five days a week. (I got off work at 4:00 back then.) She smoked like a chimney, and my son had chronic asthma. So every day, when I picked up my kids, I had to have them strip in the car and change into clean clothes, then bathe them when we got home before they could play.
After a few months, I learned she was being abusive to my son as well as one other child she watched. She made these boys sit on the couch — on their hands – from the time the bus dropped them off until the time their parents picked them up. She refused to give them a snack, and she refused to allow them to get up and play with the other kids or even watch TV. In fact, she apparently sat in her chair and chain smoked and watched rated R movies the whole time the kids were there!
Now, I knew my son could be a handful… He’s autistic, and as such, he was very active and curious. However, he was always a sweet kid, and generally well behaved.
I was kept late at work twice one week (so I had to work until 5:00 PM those two days), and she got so fed up that the second time, she fired us! (Keep in mind, the $140 price was the same for parents who always had to work until 5:00.) When I picked up my kids, she told me to never bring them back. No notice. No warning. So I was stuck on the spot with no caregiver. It wasn’t until that night that my kids told me what had been going on. They said she threatened to beat them if they told me how she treated everyone.
That was the Friday before a long weekend (Martin Luther King Day), so it was more difficult to find anyone at home to secure a new babysitter. But that’s a story for another time.
Tuesday, I had to call into work and take the day to find someone. When I went to the County office to get a new list of sitters, I filed a complaint against Rachael R. They told me it didn’t sound like much of a problem, and I should be glad my kids were out. (Yes, really!) I then drove straight to the police department, and they told me there was nothing they could do. I went to the Sheriff’s office, and they blew me off as well.
A couple of weeks prior, Hillary Clinton had just taken office as Senator in New York. I was at my wit’s end, and I really hated the thought of Rachael R. making one more dime off any other unsuspecting parent and abusing another child. So I wrote a long letter detailing my frustration to Mrs. Clinton. I started off welcoming her to the Empire State, and telling her that like herself, I was a newcomer a short time before. I then quoted her from her book “It Takes a Village” (to raise a child), and told her how disappointed I was that the “village” I lived in was not helpful in the least. I never expected to hear back from her, but it felt good just to get my frustrations out on paper.
Well, imagine my surprise when just short of two weeks later, I received a lengthy, personalized letter from Mrs. Clinton’s office, telling me that Hillary had read my correspondence, and was going to look into the matter further. It wasn’t long after that that my county started buzzing. County officials called to ask me questions about Rachael R. and what specifically she did to my kids and others. And about a month later, the word on the street was that Rachael R. lost her license! I thought that would be the end of it, but then a couple of months after that, I received a follow-up letter from Mrs. Clinton’s office telling me what they’d done on my children’s behalf, and asking me to contact them again if I was not satisfied with the result. WOW!
In 2004, I was back in Florida, and my son was having an extremely difficult time with his teacher. Without getting into another lengthy story, I’ll just say that it was BAD. (You’ve all heard stories of how some teachers pick on autistic children. This was one of those stories.)
I went to the principal and the superintendent of schools with no satisfaction. When they did nothing, I wrote to the governor at the time, Jeb Bush. I figured since Hillary had been so responsive and helpful, that ALL government elected offices had a duty to be as diligent. Not so. His response didn’t arrive until several months later after school was out and it didn’t matter anymore.
Jeremy had another horrendous school experience in 2006. This time, after going through the local school channels (principal, superintendent, etc.), I wrote to my Senator. He wrote back and told me to try talking to the school principal! (Yes, really!) It wasn’t long after that that I quit my job and homeschooled my son for the remainder of his school career.
So, in closing, while I encounter a lot of people who can’t stand Hillary for one reason or another, their reasons are usually based on media hype and not because Hillary did anything personal to negatively affect them. I, on the other hand, agree that I would probably be voting for her anyway just because she is a woman, and a Democrat, and so intelligent, and has prior experience in office and in the actual White House. But the reason I am so exceptionally passionate about casting my vote for Hillary is because she personally assisted my Autistic child in getting the justice he deserved.
Let’s talk! How do you select a candidate? Has your child ever been bullied? If your child had been bullied by another adult, what would you have done?