In the comments to the post below, Paul wrote:
Doug,Have you noticed that over the last several years we have “hammered out..” a budget that actually shrinks our opportunitu to hammer out one in the future? What I mean is this…As we shift more and more to federal funding as an answer to our budget we become more and more enslaved to the whims of federal budget makers. Is this the Sacramento’s fault? Ultimately I would say yes, after all they are the ones that say yeah or nay.But lets be fair – we do not need to search far to find fantasies and fallacies about unmatched state dollars, waiver, backfill, and outrageous numbers like 1.4 Billion in untapped federal monies. In fact, we do not need to search at all. The advodivas, the advocrates – the politicians are within our own ranks.How can we not love a person that implies through poignant protestation that we are being short changed 1.4 Billion dollars? We love him or her just as we love the politician that tells us that he or she will cut our taxes and double our entitlements at the same time.Until we can address our realities Andy words are axiomatic, “It does not, will not, cannot exist in our government.” Until we acknowledge that some of our efforts at home are, “little more than the brightly-colored bunting and balloons of a democracy”
I have noticed, just as I noticed that you said articulately something I've been trying to squawk out for the lifetime of this blog. Missing from his list is the amount of time, energy and audience we waste debating the prevalence of "classic" autism. There are a few problems that I would identify in our approach:
1. We argue with the idea of waste in the system before looking for it. If there is waste in the system, and we all know there is, it is interfering with effective support for people with disabilities and counteracting the well-spent funds. If there is waste in the system, identifying and eliminating it would be that much funding we would not have to defend. That we find so many ways to fight against the unexamined implication also allows those who would cut our finding to decry wasteful spending without expectation of quantifying it.
2. That we even care what resources might be available takes the conversation away from the mission and into the money. We will never win an argument about money. We have people who need and deserve our support. They are compelling people, sympathetic people and above all, people. It is easy to not care about acronymmed arcana like FFP. It is hard to dismiss a human striving to overcome a profound challenge.
3. Nothing depresses me more than the number of my dear friends in the DDS advocacy community who have been saying for 8 years that we can't start the important fight until funding is secure. Funding will never be secure. As long as you think funding comes first, you have surrendered the battle for everything you say matters.