We the People: The Power Is Ours!

By Denise D. Resnik, Founder & President/CEO

Schoolhouse Rock filled our home with music for two decades. Dozens of Multiplication Rock, Science Rock, Grammar Rock and American Rock video cassettes were organized in closets and drawers. Matt’s favorites, tucked in his backpack, traveled with him everywhere.  

The collection included dozens of the same versions, reflecting his comfort from listening to the familiar, snappy tunes and the joy of seeing them neatly lined up. The series taught Matt everything from multiplication tables to the Preamble to the Constitution.   

In recent years, the video series monopolizing Matt’s waking hours is Captain Planet. At age 33, he jumps up from his bed or rocking chair with air fist bumps, energetically exclaiming, just like Captain Planet, “The power is yours!” On some days, we hear the same phrase hundreds of times! 

We’re addressing these new vocal stereotypies (repetitive, ritualistic movements) with behavioral therapists, our support team and family members because they impact reciprocal communication and attentiveness. It’s been a challenge to redirect him, but of late we’ve decided to lean into Captain Planet, riffing on and having fun with “The power is dad’s!” or “The shower is yours!” 

Inspired in part by First Place’s nonpartisan voter registration initiative, Vote the Spectrum℠, I’ve also been listening more intently to Captain Planet’s various messages as I ponder the spectrum of autism and disabilities—and the spectrum of red and blue that’s good for the people, our planet and a healthy democracy. 

You can learn more about the power of Captain Planet on Wikipedia, which notes that  every episode includes at least one Planeteer Alert  clip reminding viewers “how they can contribute and be part of ‘the solution’ rather than ‘the pollution.’”

The power is yours—and ours! 

Voting is our superpower.

Register to vote here and be sure to attend our next workshop on accessible voting—Spark the Spectrum—on Tuesday, June 25 from 3 to 5 p.m.   

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