11/05/2008

A Great American


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.
Link
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.

27 comments:

Imsavimsa said...

I'm glad you posted this about Dan's devotion to Obama. And it's great that he gets to say his opinion by voting. Sorry you don't have it on film though...

Hugs,
Mia

jypsy said...

We're celebrating with you Dan! Excellent choice.
Your fans in Canada...

Kari said...

DAN you have Another Canadian fan here! WTG Dan! I am so pleased you live in a country that recognizes that you are a person with an opinion that matters :) Congrats on "Your guy" Winning.
WILL I found it interesting when you mentioned bringing girls home and the Dan test. I recently had a conversation with my sons respirologist whose older brother Just so happens to also have an extra Chromosome. He said the exact same thing. If he brought girls home and his brother didn't like them it was over because his brother had the best judgement in people. :)

Our lil' angel ~ Gavin Russell~ said...

I just found your blog the other day and love it so much! Thank you! I have a 3 week old son diagnosed with DS and seeing Dan and getting to know him through your blog has really encourged me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
I wish I could get to know you both better and wish you both the very best :)

Lianna said...

"So maybe Dan doesn’t know all of the policies being debated, or the solution to the current financial crisis, or whether we’ll got to war with Iran but neither do I and neither do you but Dan cares, with his whole heart."

That is what is so engaging about Dan -- his passion for Obama and to be involved by voting. He voted because he is an American citizen! I bet Dan would never have needed to watch a television ad chock full of celebs urging him to vote. He did it because he was passionate about it. He should be commended!

I don't read YouTube comments for any video to do with Down syndrome because I can't take the negative comments. I guess I'm still a newbie in the Down syndrome community and, well, the comments make me want to punch someone in the eye -- a 43 year old woman acting like a sixth grader -- and that just wouldn't go over well. ;)

But I admire how you addressed the comments. Good on you!

I, too, would have loved to watch Dan celebrate Obama's win on film. Dan is so engaging -- when you watch him, he is completely natural.

Life is good, Dan! You voted and I bet you're right on the money when it comes to Barack Obama! Congratulations!!!

Tracy in MN said...

Way to go, Dan!! I voted for Obama as well and have been volunteering with his campaign for several months. I'm so happy not only for him, but for US as well because we are all the real winners in this election! Way to make your voice heard... very commendable! :) And Will - it just has to be said - your comment about the grammar of Dan nay-sayers... hilarious.

Tracy :)

the collins clan said...

Way to go DAN! My son is 10 and has DS too! I was wondering this election if in his future he would be 'allowed' to cast his vote like the rest of the US citizens. Thanks for answering that one for me :) Keep up your brother's 'Dan Test' for his girlfriends too. I think that is great and even tho my daughter, Sahara, is just 13 and not dating yet, I have told her for years that she will have to have her friends (boys and girls) pass the 'Canyon Test' (she was in complete agreement). So I thought that was pretty funny when I read it here.

Take care, Misty

Chrystal said...

I thought about you when I voted, Dan. I'm glad to read that you're as pleased with the outcome as I thought you'd be.

Maya said...

Thank you for this post Will! It was very inspiring. It's a shame more Americans aren't as involved in politics as Dan is!

I have been a "Dan" fan for some time now. My son Leo is 4 and has Ds and I have really enjoyed watching your films and daydreaming about what Leo might be like one day. I was wondering that same question about whether Leo would be able to vote and have learned a lot about voting and Ds this election.
The relationship you two have as brothers is so touching. I look forward to keeping up with you in the future. Alll the best to you both!

jypsy said...

Hey guys....
Thought you might be interested in this... CBC Radio did an series of interviews before our recent Canadian federal election with "Super committed" voters. One of them was Will Brewer -
"Throughout the federal election campaign, The Current is going to be introducing you to a few people we think are well worth getting to know. We're calling them "The Super-Committed", people with a passion for politics and a commitment to making this election matter.

Will Brewer is one of them. He grew up in Fredericton. And from an early age, he was immersed in some of the great political debates of our times -- abortion, same-sex marriage. And as a young man with Down's Syndrome, he's been an activist for people with intellectual disabilities.

The CBC's Peter Anawati spent some time with Will and Peter joined us from Saint John."

It was a really good interview and you can listen to it (or download it)here. Enjoy...

Doug Turner said...

In california, some father of an adult w/ DS made a big stink about his son voting. ABC News interview me about it -- I have a little girl w/ DS and I fully support and expect her to vote.

Here is the video. It was on CNN:

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=6478289

Chris said...

I'm so glad Dan made you post this. I thought about him when Obama won. So happy his guy won...for so many reasons.

GAPEACH said...

Dan is just awesome!! You have already contributed more than you will ever know to the fans of your web site and others that you encounter.
Will, since you are in CA does are you going to continue the web site with Dan?? I sure hope so!!!

GAPEACH said...

You are in a league of your own Dan. There are numerous celebrities touched with family members with down syndrome.... Eva Longoria's older sister, Jamie Foxx's half sister, Joe Diffie (country music singer) son, of course Chris Burke all have ds.
There are numerous others with family members who are celebrities that are too numerous to mention.
"Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes"-Eleanor Roosevelt. You have to ignore those You Tubers. If I posted a video of myself on you tube-I am sure they would be critical-- too tall, too thin, too white, whatever-in the meantime hiding behind their anonymous keyboards. A true judge of character is how people treat others in which they have nothing to gain. Erase those ignorant comments because they only bring negative energy and keep moving on!!

Mrs Wibbs said...

Dan - you are amazing...!! I love it that you have such strong opinions and values; our society needs this, and so my prayer is that they will learn to listen, and respect, and nurture, and cherish people such as you and my Thomas. I'm so glad you got to vote, and I'm even more glad you voted for the right guy, and that the guy you voted for got chosen by such a large majority. You have great insight, and you are a real inspiration!!

All 4 My Gals said...

Go Dan! We are so very proud of you. And I know just what you mean about his ability to determine someone's heart very quickly....we call Tarenne our niceness barometer. Pretty much if she shuns someone, then we know we should steer clear of them.

Thanks for sharing your brother in such a beautiful way!

Dan I am celebrating with you!

Lauren said...

Awesome post, thanks! Our youngest family member is 7 ahd has DS. Many people have shared how intuitive she is--good to see Dan has the gift as well. You are both doing great things for the DS community and educating the world-kudos.

Liz & Emily said...

I can't begin to tell you how irate I was to learn that people actually believe that a person with DS shouldn't be allowed to vote! I am steaming here! Dan, I am so very proud of you for standing on your beliefs. I voted for Obama only after listening to you Dan, THEN I started listening to him. My daughter has DS and if she only grows into half the person you have become I will be the happiest woman on earth. I can't thank you enough for letting us all share in your life. We have so much to look forward to!

Anonymous said...

We love you Dan!!!!

You inspire so many to do so much more. Keep on doing what you do!!!

p.s. We'd love to see more videos. :)

Rebecca P

S. said...

I cannot tell you both how moved I am by your blog. I am overwhelmed by the emotion of it all! Please continue sharing your story. One more reason to be thrilled with Obama's victory!
Shannon
mom to Lukas, 5 yrs. old, Down syndrome and Hirschprung's
plus big sis M. and little sis A.

jypsy said...

Yes We Can!

Monica said...

Congratulations Dan your man won!! I have to be truthful and say I didn't vote for him, I guess I don't agree with some issues. But, I do think he is a very classy sharp man and I give him my full respect as our next President and my 10yr old also is a big Obama fan, and he also is amazing judge of character! :)

Tommy's mommy said...

I just stumbled across your blog and I have to say I LOVE what you are doing. Dan, Obama is my guy too!

Our son is almost two years old and has Hirschsprung's disease and Ds. I'm very interested to know more of your life with HD Will. You would have much to teach us.

Keep up the great job. You guys are terrific!

Tamara said...

Dan -

I'm pretty happy about it too. He's one inspiring guy. I have an 11 year old with DS who "voted" for Obama at school this year ... he may have been a little influenced by his mother though ... :-)

Anne said...

I hope my youngest son and daughter will someday write something this powerful about their older brother.

amy smith said...

so, so proud.
of you dan, and of your little brother.

waldenhouse said...

Great post. Profound and simple.