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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

President Obama Bashes Special Olympics on the Tonight Show

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by Treadmarkz

Wow. I watched the broadcast with great interest, and was impressed with the poise and confidence with which the President discussed the economic situation and how he appears to be ready to clean up all of the immoral practices of corporate America that have been swept under the rug for too long.

I didn’t even notice this comment.

Everything else he was saying was more important. I am an American first and a disabled person…well, like fifth or sixth, but you get the idea.

But I will say that no matter how hard he works to rectify our economy and get this ship on the right course, a “joke” like that should not be considered “acceptable” for the President of the United States to make.

I write a lot on this blog about how disabled people can take a joke, and we are no more untouchable than anyone else. But the Special Olympics is for participants that are often very physically able people, and I would imagine a lot of the participants could bowl the Flag Pin right off of President Obama’s lapel!

Mr. President, I respect you for your initiative and for your passion, but please be careful. Don’t be a Biden. You’re much more intelligent than that one small comment would give you credit for.

The Next Big Questions for the United States of America

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Treadmarkz

One of the biggest, most deeply debated questions in the U.S. has been answered. Will we ever have a Black President? Well, Obama is half Black and half White. So I guess technically “Will we ever have a Black president?” is still the big question. But Obama’s election is considered to be a huge step in the right direction by millions of Americans as well as many millions of well wishers around the world. In many ways this has nothing to do with Obama’s race. The goodwill he is receiving certainly owes much to Obama’s ideas; his policies and his outlook for the future of this country and how it relates to the rest of the world.

But we also must keep in mind that his election has shown the world that the U.S., supposedly so far ahead of the rest of the world, has finally made a concrete statement to the rest of the world about its “open-mindedness.” After all there have been female heads of state all over the world, including many places in the supposedly-backward Middle East, for a long time. Not in the States, though.

In 2012 – or 2016 when Obama is no longer eligible for the Presidency – will it be considered a step backward if a White male is once again elected president? Certainly it will not be a step backward if Obama makes good on his ideas and becomes a well-respected president, and the next president continues where Obama left off.

Is this the crossroads of history when we can start asking not if, but when will there be an Asian U.S. President? When will there be a Hispanic, “Native American” or Middle Eastern, or Jewish or Muslim or Atheist U.S. President, or a president who is a “little person”?

When will we have an openly homosexual President? (see James Buchanan). Certainly the debate over “gay” marriage in the U.S. right now makes this an unlikely atmosphere. But the Civil Rights movement came to a crescendo 40 years ago, and Barack Obama has been elected. Will we see a gay president in 2048?

When will we have an openly disabled U.S. President? (see Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Americans with Disabilities Act empowered millions in 1990. Will we see a president who is blind, or a president who will without reservations appear on television in his wheelchair, or, let’s say, without his prosthetic in the year 2032? John McCain has a minor disability due to a war wound which he spoke openly about when the issue came up about him not using the Internet. And he came close to the White House.

These are just some of the possibilities that the election of Barack Obama has brought closer to being a reality. Now all we have to do is watch how history plays out.

Why It Takes More Than A Disabled War Veteran and the Mother of a Child With a Disability To Win My Vote

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by Treadmarkz,

I have encountered fellow citizens of the U.S. who were shocked that I would not be voting for John McCain/Sarah Palin in this year’s election. Astounded, really.

“Don’t you think Sarah Palin, as a mother of a disabled kid, and John McCain, as a disabled War Veteran, would do everything they can for disabled people?”

I have endless respect for McCain’s sacrifice in War, and I know from listening to my mother talk about raising me what Palin must go through to get her child what he needs to live the life she wants for him. So this is a valid question. Sure Palin is the mother of a child with Down Syndrome. But I don’t know what she would do as a leader. I mean if my own mother were in the White House, I have a good idea of the laws that she would want changed and I would trust her judgement. But I don’t know enough about Palin to know if I trust the things that she would have pushed for as VP. And nobody can know what’s best for all the different kinds of disabled people. So you have to vote for the overall best choice you have available. And I believe I did.

And besides that, any change that was made on behalf of disabled people would have to be voted on by the law-making bodies of our government, not just installed by Palin OR McCain. I know that is how it works under Bush/Cheney but we are back to reality now. In that respect I know that disabled people are just as well off under Obama as we would have been with Palin or McCain.

I told the person that asked me this that sometimes it is better if people that have a little distance from the issue make the decision. And what I meant was that if we want this to be a fair and balanced country, the laws and “changes” need to be made by people without self-interest in the issues.

And speaking of self-interest, despite an earlier posting in which I noted that Obama was the only candidate that mentioned disabled people on his Web site, I know that there are issues that are infinitely more important to this country than whether I get accessibility to certain buildings, etc. Such as the issue of whether I get to keep getting my health care for free while others don’t have health care at all. Such as whether my president is going to stop or continue isolating us from the rest of the world. Whether he is going to take the time to read the CIA reports about potential attacks. Whether my president is going to make education a priority for everyone. Whether he is going to tax the people who have the money to spare (the facts don’t lie, if you actually paid attention to what McCain and Obama were saying). The list goes on and on.

The point is that I am a citizen of this country and I care about the things that everyone else does. So it took more than two people with direct connections with disabilities to get my vote. That is why I voted for Obama.

Thank God Almighty

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by Treadmarkz

I have not felt the sense of Patriotism, the sense that America is a beautiful place to be, that I have tonight, in a long time.

Disabled People: Don’t Vote Absentee Unless You Absolutely Must!

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by Treadmarkz

It’s probably a little late for this but I just read that absentee voting costs the county – at least the county that I am living in – about $10 per ballot, which is about twice as much as each ballot costs the county on Election Day. I don’t know why that is, but I also know that many of the people that are casting absentee votes are giving “disability” for a reason they need to vote early.

Since this election is about ceasing the unnecessary spending in government and getting back to pooling our resources into things that are important, I implore you if you are disabled, please do not vote absentee, unless you really need to, to avoid the crowds, which is completely understandable. And I ask that anyone else who may attempt to fabricate a reason why they need to vote early, to avoid doing so. Show that you really believe in changing the way we do things for the greater good!

Since there isn’t much time until Election Day, please pass this on to anyone you think should read this.

I am Treadmarkz, and again, I approve this message.

Furious Male Liberal Defends Sarah Palin AND Her Baby

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by Treadmarkz

I am not a fan of Sarah Palin’s political views overall, but ever since her introduction as McCain’s running mate at the RNC, she has been taking a lot of crap because she had her baby son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, at the convention. Because of this, I can no longer remain silent on the issue. A few things are being said in the media about her little guy’s appearance on the National Stage that are really getting me steamed.

1. That having him at the convention was a political stunt to demonstrate how “pro-life” she is. Just because 80% of women who find out their unborn baby has Down Syndrome have an abortion according to this story does not mean that keeping your baby makes you any more of a saint than anyone else. After all, it is your baby we are talking about, not an everyday inconvenience that one chooses how to dispose of. I think Palin had her baby at the convention because he is a part of her family and she was introducing herself, and her family, to the country. Case closed.

2. By making the above into such a big time news story, the media made it seem as though not having an abortion in a similar situation would be noteworthy, somehow. Following through with a pregnancy which you know will result in a child with a disability is not a pro-life thing, it’s not a Christian thing, it’s not a Republican or Conservative thing. It is about love, and we all have that in us somewhere. Even us God damned baby killer pagan liberal Democrats!

3. One doctor went so far as to express concern that Palin’s example will lead other expectant mothers NOT to abort when the expected child is found to have a disability! What the Hell? Look, I have spina bifida, I know what a handful my disability was as a child, but there is always HELP one can gain through doctors (if they know what they are talking about), family members, the community, etcetera. And this is not even an issue of taking away people’s CHOICE. It is an issue of giving a baby with a disadvantage a CHANCE.

This doctor is worried that the mothers of fetuses with Down Syndrome will not be prepared to take care of the child. Well, I doubt very much that my own mother grew up training all her life to have a baby with spina bifida. Mothers who have children with disabilities find ways to cope with the circumstances they are given, and they do so out of love, the greatest power in the world. The greatest human quality. And Sarah Palin is a human being.

All of the negative attitudes toward Palin having this baby will reinforce the misconception that having a child with a disability is beyond the average human being. It encourages abortion of “imperfect” children. I am not going to get into the pro-life/choice argument because it’s a dead end as far as I can see. I am just using my own life experience here. I am pro-chance, my friends. Making her out to be either a saint or simply irresponsible will only serve the point of view that the chance to life should not be given so freely.

And quite frankly these attitudes have me really concerned coming from fellow liberals. Do they realize they are reinforcing every stereotype that conservatives have toward them and hold to be so repugnant? No wonder Barack Obama is losing so many supporters, even though he has absolutely nothing to do with this.

Could One Man’s Disability Alter the Fate of Mankind Irrevocably?

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by Treadmarkz

That one man I am referring to is, of course, Kim Jong-Il, North Korean rock star and dictator.

It was reported on Thursday that Kim (or Mr. Il, if you will) has within the last month had a stroke which may have left him paralyzed on one side of his body, and prone to spasms. He has not appeared in public since, because a public spasm would, of course, be a tremendous faux pas, especially in front of his throngs of admirers.

But what’s more, with Kim out of commission, talks between the U.S. and North Korea about nuclear (or nucular if you’re President Bush) disarmament may be indefinitely sidetracked. It’s bad enough that Kim already feels his good name is being dragged through the proverbial mud by the U.S. not taking him off the official Nucular Bad Guy list. Now this?

Could Kim’s newfound disability imperil one of the most important diplomatic chess matches of our time, thereby putting the path to “World Peace” into a tailspin never to be corrected? Or will North Korea’s second-in-command Kim Yong Nam step up and save the day? Just a question.

Biden: “Stand Up, Chuck!” – Gaffe For the Ages or Just a Poorly Delivered Compliment?

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by Treadmarkz

Anyone who frequents YouTube has probably seen the video of Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joseph Biden speaking on the campaign trail recently when he mentioned Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham’s name. This prompted Biden to say to Graham “Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see ya.”

One problem: Graham is in a wheelchair.

I will not post the video here, but I do want to comment on the incident.

Some are saying that it is proof that Biden has never met Graham, and is therefore not as much of a Washington go-getter as he’s supposed to be or whatever. Possibly. But does it really prove anything? Gaffe for the ages, they are saying! But is it?

I have written previously how a co-worker told me once that he hadn’t ever really noticed that I was in a wheelchair. He maybe did at first but the importance of the fact grew dimmer and dimmer over time as we worked together and he saw me as a person on the same level as himself. The same principle may have been at work between Biden and Graham.

Plus Biden covered his tracks so well after the “error”, by making everyone else in attendance stand up. Over-correction? Maybe. Classy off-the-cuff move though, considering how I am sure Biden felt after making the mistake.

People are saying it is appalling that if Biden had never met Graham that nobody briefed him that Graham was in a wheelchair. I say it’s great that nobody briefed him that Graham was in a wheelchair. That proves that they did not really notice it either.

Rocking Out For Spinal Cord Injury Research

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by Treadmarkz

The other day I was thumbing through a rack of old LPs at a kiosk on the St. Vital Mall in Winnipeg, and I found a stack of Beatles records that for some reason nobody had snatched up yet. I didn’t waste a moment in deciding to buy the LP version of “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl” and “Yesterday…and Today.”

As if this wasn’t enough for a Beatles fanatic like me, I found out after the fact that all proceeds from purchases made at this kiosk were to go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. A little piece of cosmic serendipity, possibly. I wish I could say I bought the records because I wanted to make a benevolent contribution to the Reeve cause, but that is simply not true. But I am glad I bought them.

I am in a wheelchair with a spinal chord related disorder myself so I had a pretty good idea what the Reeve Foundation was about, but I looked into it a little more last night. I am not going to go into the issue of Spinal Cord Injury research too much, but regardless of your opinion on the controversial issue, what they are doing at the Reeve Foundation can only lead to some good coming to those whose lives have been changed to an indefinite degree by their injury.

Take a look at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation by clicking HERE. I’ll be adding it to my blog roll soon.

Gang Up For Accessibility

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by Treadmarkz

An organization in my hometown, called Arc Southeastern Minnesota has recently held it’s first annual Wheelchair Accessibility Awareness event. Basically what they did was they got a large number of people in wheelchairs, and their loved ones, to converge upon the city in groups to test the public establishments for accessibility. While putting them to the test, Arc was also driving home a point by having so many people in wheelchairs dropping by these establishments at one time:

Things MUST change!

The usual list of problems were found: those door-opener buttons taking forever to open in the first place in a lot of places, if they even have them. And have you ever pressed the elevator button, and then when it comes and you try to get in, the door closes on you? Yeah, that was another one of the key findings. Other problems discovered where narrow aisles and doorways, accessibility to restaurants and other every day establishments, and of course wheelchair accessible parking at these establishments.

Now its just a wait to see if their experiment made a difference in how the owners of the places they visited choose to run their businesses.

Do they want our business?

If they do they will make the changes necessary. Unfortunately most business owners will do the bare minimum required of them by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and even then they grumble about the cost. Maybe there needs to be a government subsidy for these businesses to make these changes, but I guarantee you the dollars spent by business owners to make the changes will be paid back in full by our dollars spent as their customers. There are more of us than they may imagine. They just don’t see us around much because getting into their buildings may be more trouble than it’s worth.

If you live in a town that you feel needs a little upgrade in accessibility in general, and you have a local disabled advocacy organization, please suggest conducting a similar experiment.