Thursday, January 21, 2010

PLEASE, Our Kids Need Your Vote

Yes, emerging from a long silence. Explanation for all of that will have to wait.
If you are easily offended, or if you think that my frustration and anger, in light of the terrible events in Haiti, is misplaced, then I strongly advise you to get off this blog now and not read this post. For those of you that do continue to read, I hope you can see my frustration for what it is - a mask to hide a deep, deep hurt.

Last Friday, Chase Morgan (yeah, the bank) opened up a contest of sorts in which people can put in votes towards their charity of choice. The eligible charities were picked based on voting conducted a few months ago, and the National Autism Association (NAA) was one of the charities that made it in to the contest. The contest closes tomorrow night at midnight. The winner will get 1 million (yes, ONE MILLION) US dollars, the 2nd to 5th place runners will receive $100,000 each. And yes, NAA is in the running for that 1 million dollars.

Efforts to recruit votes by a dedicated crew of totally amazing people started optimistically this past Friday, and recruitment efforts continued and continue in an upbeat tone, despite the fact that it is becoming clear that the community at large couldn't care less. A very sad reality is emerging. Despite the fact that the NAA Cause community on Facebook has over 1.3 Million members (so really, if every member voted, we'd have this contest in the bag), only about 2% of these members have actually voted. Yes, only 2%. And while incredibly dedicated folks continue to work their butts of AROUND THE CLOCK begging and pleading for votes, it's a tough tough tough battle.

An update went out this morning cut me to the deepest part of my soul.

PLEASE! AUTISM IS THE #1 CHILDHOOD DISORDER IN THE COUNTRY. AUTISM SHOULD NOT BE IN 7TH PLACE FOR A MILLION DOLLARS! There are only two days left in the Chase contest to win the most votes for a million bucks. We have almost 1.3 million members on the NAA Cause Facebook group, but are struggling to get votes to win funding for our autism programs. All it takes is a moment of your time to vote. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE VOTE! We are running out of time!

As I said, only about 2% of all those members have voted. I've done endless posting on Facebook, I've send emails. Some folks have voted, some have not. I've lost Facebook "friends" over my endless voting requests. I've had to remove a *friend* (I will not get into the details, but let's just say that people's true colors really have been coming out during the voting/recruitment process).

I don't know what else I CAN do to get people to vote. I wasn't going to post on my blog as I know that many of my readers do not have a Facebook account (which you need to be able to vote) and are not interested/inclined to get one either. All I can do is ask you to consider getting a Facebook account, yes, for the sake of this contest, and then, after you have voted, you can close always your account again . Our kids need your vote. NAA could do so so so so so incredibly much with 1 million dollars. (mom, if you read this, contact me off line. I am sensitive to your Facebook account concerns and I can help there with security and all that).

Having been on this crazy roller coaster ride for quite a few years now strips you off many illusions. I had very few left to begin with, but I am beyond sad that my, so far unarticulated, fear that the world at large doesn't give a rat's ass about our kids is in fact the painful truth. Sad fact is that in today's society, the good guys don't always win. In fact, more often than not, they get beaten to a bloody pulp while the world at large stands on the side lines, thumbs up their asses, making sad and sympathetic noises, will doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

And knowing this, seeing this, what's a girl to do? Turn black, hard, sarcastic, cynical? I'll be honest, it's a real struggle to not go down that path. It's also a read struggle to not just 'give up and walk away'.

But here's the thing. At the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, I'd rather see the lumps and bumps I took over the course of the day as a result of taking a stance, than to see a pristine face and knowing that the only reason it stayed pristine is because I stayed on the side line and did nothing.

I am no Pollyanna. I don't believe anymore that people are inherently good and that all will be well and will work out for the best. Life unfortunately frequently is a fight to survive. I have to actively chose every single day to maintain a positive, can do attitude and to "stay in the fight*. And there's many a day that I have to *fake it until I make it*.

But how can I be or do any different than that? What message would I be giving my boys if I were to *roll over and play dead*?

So here's my question, no my plea, to you. How will YOU decide to make a difference? Because by deciding to NOT vote for NAA you are making a difference too, but is that the difference you want to make? Please vote for real help for kids with autism now.