Dan is having a great fall season so far. The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, he dressed as Ryan Howard for Halloween, and Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States. Dan lives in Pennsylvania and I live in California so he called me this morning to make sure I knew Barack won. I asked him how he felt,
“I’m so happy, Will. He’s my man.”Dan has an elegant way of summing things up. Honestly, what more could my brother have said? It is a truly happy and historic day and whether you voted for him or not, he is our man for the next four years. Barack has been Dan’s man long before he was mine, or anyone in our family’s. During the primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama we lived in a split household, right down the gender line. Years before that, Barack gave a speech at the 2004 DNC and Dan made a note of how sharp he was.
Today is a day of celebration for many reasons but I would like to celebrate my brother’s extraordinary achievement as a citizen of this great nation. After countless You Tubers have insisted Dan should not be allowed to vote, that me or my family are dictating his vote, or that he’s simply too stupid to vote (the latter comments always coming from those who have worse grammar than Dan) I feel compelled to shout “NO!”
Dan Drinker is a man of his own volition, a proud American whose sense of responsibility and duty called him to participate in this election in every way he could. If you’ve spent even five minutes watching him in action you’ll know that the only reason he’s been so committed to this election is because he wants to be. I wish to celebrate his patriotism.
Dan watched all the debates, he voted in the Pennsylvania primary, he saw Barack speak at Penn State University, he endorsed his candidacy right here on his website, and he voted for him in the general election. Yesterday he called to tell me he just voted for “Barack Obama and his friend Joe Biden”. Today after gushing about our new president he insisted I post something today. So here I am. I explained that’d be difficult since the scenes I’ve been working on don’t really speak to the election. He said, “I don’t care, Obama won”. So, let us celebrate that we live in a country that allows a 23 year-old man with Down syndrome to have a voice in the most important election of his lifetime.
Dan has always been an excellent judge of character. Whenever a new friend comes to our house, Dan finds a way to test their personality and reveal who they really are. He understands that he is special and always cleverly determines if you can handle it. You could call Dan the litmus test of our household in a way. If he doesn’t like someone, it’s usually for a very fundamental reason that no one can ignore. If he loves someone, they usually deserve it. I’m not kidding. When I would bring a girl home and she failed the Dan test, there was no turning back. There is no alternative to Dan Drinker’s approval. Maybe that’s why I try so hard to impress him.
So maybe Dan doesn’t know all of the policies being debated, or the solution to the current financial crisis, or whether we’ll go to war with Iran but neither do I and neither do you. Dan voted with his heart. Dan cares and he tries. He tries very hard. For that, I believe he should be commended. Equal opportunity is nothing more than an opportunity. Because he seizes the opportunity, Dan Drinker is a great American.