Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Power Is In The Vote, Don't They Get It?

We are rapidly approaching a brand new era in the state of our country. The political tides are about to shift and this, in many people's opinions, is a good thing. A lot of focus, and rightly so, is placed on the Iraq war and return of the veterans. Late at night I listen to the political pundits and the noise around the pending nomination seems to be more around peripheral matters such as whose minister said what. This deflection away from main positions is annoying.

I find it equally dismaying that I have never heard the phrase "the disability community vote." It's as if we're a non-existent or at best a politically insignificant constituency. I don't get it. Don't people, particularly the candidates, appreciate or even understand that the issues related to people with disabilities more or less impact on everyone's life?

A lot of lip service is given to the return and re-integration into society of the disabled veteran and his or her family. This notion is suspended without any talk of pragmatic plans for greater environmental accessibility and community based support services.

The elderly are associated with the singular topic of Social Security and Medicare, but what of long-term living programs and services that will keep people in their families and communities where they belong?

I haven't heard one candidate, Republican or Democrat, talk about inclusion of people with disabilities in society as an indisputable right. I wonder if the candidates and their advisors could even articulate the fundamental underlying issues of community-based services and programs.

People with disabilities are in the largest growing minority, now numbering 55 million who are identified. The voting block of family, associates and friends, would seem to me to warrant attention if I were running for prez of the most developed country in the world. Hey, that's an idea! Maybe I should run for president! Don't all flood me with emails at once.

7 comments:

imfunnytoo said...

It's very frustrating. Even if hard data is brought to the political discussion it is never examined by the mainstream, no visceral understanding that we are a voting constituency, that our concerns reflect more than just ourselves but the way the (presently) able will be dealing with bodily difference over a lifetime....

UCP eCoordinator said...

This post is fantastic. This is just the thing we are working for at United Cerebral Palsy. Check out our campaign Web site at http://www.dontblockmyvote.org and visit our forum.

Also, I would like to use an excerpt from this post in an e-newsletter/blog post for our internal publication, UCPeople located as a blog at http://ucpeople.blogspot.com,

Please contact me at ecoordinator@ucp(dot)org or 800.872.5827 x. 7106 when you get a chance as this is a great topic for a feature story.

Thanks,
Will Hull
eAdvocacy/eCommunciations Coordinator
UCP National Office

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