Trig Paxson Van Palin [Rich Lowry]
I meant to post this the other day (so please don’t take it as a response to Rick—in fact it might constitute pleading guilty as charged!), but I got sidetracked. I found the Palin event Friday incredibly moving. Partly because of Trig.
The sentimentalist in me would be willing to see anyone who is loving and unselfish enough to welcome a Down kid into their family elevated to high office.
When I was thinking of Trig, I was reminded of an encounter I had a couple of weeks ago on the Delta Shuttle from Washington to New York. It was a mostly empty plane, but I went all the back to the very emptiest part of the plane to spread out and enjoy he quiet. And there was a man sitting in the very back row who immediately piped up, "Hi. I'm Ian. Would you like to sit next to me?"
He was a guy with Down Syndrome, maybe in his twenties. I declined the offer, but we struck up a conversation. He was going to New York for a family celebration, including for his birthday. I told him I had a birthday coming up too and he lit up and came over to vigorously shake my hand in congratulations—more delighted by my birthday than his own.
When the plane began to fill up a woman and her daughter came all the way to the back with a huge bag. I began to wonder to myself if I should offer to help them with it, when Ian popped up, told them he'd get it, and lifted it up and shoved it in the overhead compartment. When two men came down the aisle with a box they weren't sure would fit overhead, he intervened and told them it would—"trust me"—and put it up for them.
He chatted amiably with his neighbors during the flight, and when we landed was up out of his seat first thing to help that woman get her bag down.
From this brief encounter, I dare say Ian is friendlier, better adjusted and more considerate than about half of the people on the streets of Manhattan or San Francisco on any given day. Yet most of those people are perfectly unperturbed by the elimination of babies with Down syndrome in the womb. To hell with them. God bless Sarah Palin for bringing Trig into the world, and may he shower those around him with as much sunshine as the gentleman I met on that flight.
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