Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘Add new tag

The Next Big Questions for the United States of America

with 2 comments

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.

Advertisements

What Would America Be Like For the Disabled Under McCain? Here is a Preview.

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz,

I saw this video on another person’s blog so I just linked to it because I think it is important to people to see this. Click the link and then play the video that comes onto the screen. I think it is telling of John McCain’s attitude toward the disabled and the issues we face. Listen carefully to what the woman in the video is asking and of course to McCain’s response.

The woman is asking McCain to support a bill giving disabled people more complete freedom of choice when it comes to public housing.

Surely I don’t expect him to say yes to everything he is asked, just so he looks good to as many people as possible, so I respect him for being honest. But he shot down the legislation the woman referred to, and then was not very specific about alternatives. Did not give the issue a lot of time. By “continue to upgrade the Americans with Disabilities Act” I just wonder, for whose benefit will these “upgrades” come?

Why I am Boycotting the Summer Olympics. No Not That. Nope Not That Either…Or That…

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz,

Yes, as the title of this posting hints at, I am boycotting this year’s Summer Games. And not because of China’s attitudes toward the disabled. Communist regimes are always going to have their vision of a perfect world, and their vision of what the people in that perfect world look like. No matter how skewed those visions may be. Boycotting a Summer Games will not send the message that people with that type of attitude need to hear. It is already too much a part of the sociology of the regime.

For much the same reason, I will not be boycotting the Olympics because of the situation between China and Tibet. That is a political drama that goes back a long time and the loss of revenue at a sporting event will not change that. Even if it is the grandest sporting stage in the world, the Olympics.

And let me make it clear that it is not the people that are the problem it is the political regime. However, the regime is run by people, and, though I may be over-simplifying, people need to change themselves.

No, I am not even boycotting because of the recent scandal involving the Chinese gov’t involved in hacking the U.S. gov’t’s computers. Nope, not even that will put such a fire in my belly as to make me boycott the Olympics!

And lastly I am not preparing to boycott if Oscar Pistorius, the amputee who was recently given the OK to attempt to qualify for the Olympics, does not make the South African team.

I am boycotting it for the same reason I do pretty much every four years. I am not interested in track and field events now, and I don’t plan on suddenly becoming interested during the Games. Sure there are other events, like Basketball, but with that, either my country, the U.S. either destroys and humiliates the competition, which is not what the games should be about, or if they don’t people get upset that we didn’t live up to the standard we were supposed to. You can’t win and I am boycotting.

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode I – The Middle Ages

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

Announcing a new segment here at treadmarkz.wordpress.com…”A Time Machine with Hand Controls” in which I explore living conditions for the disabled throughout history.

I have written about my thoughts on what my life may have been like had I grown up on a farm and not in a small town, and exploring that possibility has lead me to want to explore another dimension.

Time.

What kid hasn’t wondered what his/her life would be like if they’d been born in another time? My favorite place and time period is Europe in the Middle Ages (between the years 500 roughly, to about 1300-something, when brains became important again in Europe.

I love to read about the Middle Ages. The wars, the struggles for survival, and even the schmaltzy fictitious legends of knights in shining armor. But living in it? First off, without the use of my legs I would have been useless in the Wars for the Holy Sepulchre (the Crusades) unless I was able to come up with a way to hold fast in the saddle while wielding a sword and fighting off “infidels”.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the law of the land was feudalism, which means you were “allowed” to work the land in exchange for protection from your lord (usually some fat guy who got someone to do all his fighting for him). Incidentally this is where the modern term “landlord” comes from.

There was no place to buy your food unless you wanted to travel miles to the nearest market place. If not, you were to grow and raise and graze your own food. Traversing the land to get to said market would be a chore in and of itself for someone without use of their legs, as their was no Quickie wheelchairs in the Middle Ages. There is record of wheelchairs being used in China in the sixth century but in Europe not until well after the Middle Ages and even then their use was restricted to the Royals. And anyway, a wheelchair certainly would have done little good for a disabled peasant who worked the fields.

Most European-based surnames are rooted in the trade of those in the Middle Ages who were lucky enough to be self-sufficient and not to be dependent on a lord. Tanner, Smith, Shoemaker, and Miller are all examples that come to mind.

But let’s be honest. Technology did not allow the disabled the freedom we enjoy today. There was no ADA protecting the rights of the disabled in the work force. And there was no social security. Most disabled people scraped a living together however they could, and this was hard, as other folk saw them as witches or bad omens, the blind often seen as some kind of oracle with inner vision that the rest of us did not possess. Again, stereotypes can be used to one’s advantage! Much in the same way that the eight-limbed girl from India has been recently doted on as a reincarnated Vishnu. Can you blame them for running with it? I would!

In closing, it has come to my attention that in the Middle Ages, everyone had the middle name of “the” – Alfred the Great, Harold the Bold, Henry the Unready, Philip the Goofy. Whatever. Well, I would be Forrest the Lame, of course. But I digress.

“Music Within” Film Portrays the Cerebral Palsy Experience, Tells the Tale of the Birth of the ADA

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

I saw a preview last weekend for a film that came out last year. I’d never heard about it until I saw this preview, but based on the preview I wanted to share some information about it. It is called “Music Within”. Based on a true story, the film is about a deaf man, played by Ron Livingston, and his friend who has cerebral palsy, played by Michael Sheen. The story is about how these two men and a group of friends set about to change people’s perceptions about people with disabilities, and along the way play an important role in the creation of the ADA, and the improvement in hiring practices involving those with disabilities.

Since the preview seemed to focus on the man with cerebral palsy, my first impression was the realization that I am in a wheelchair, with spina bifida, but I know very little about many other disabilities, especially cerebral palsy, and I really wish I did. I try to be empathetic toward those with disabilities which take more from them than mine takes from me. For that matter, I don’t understand what it is like to be deaf either. I suppose we think we can understand that just by covering our ears, but imagine covering your ears 24/7…My point is that I am certain that I don’t understand completely.

Then I found out that Michael Sheen is not disabled, so my second impression was that I wished that his character had been played by an actor who really had cerebral palsy. But then I realized, through some level-headed debate with my wife, that this is what makes Sheen an “actor”. He is acting as a person with cerebral palsy.

I just thought the story would be that much more moving had the character with cerebral palsy been played by someone who knew exactly what it was like to have it. But I trust that Sheen did a sufficient amount of research for the part, as serious actors often do.

I am going to try to get my hands on a copy of “Music Within” so I can understand, and learn more about the ADA. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The Flaw in the System of Handicapped Bathroom Stalls and Handicapped Parking Spaces

with 5 comments

by Treadmarkz

From the outset of this blog, I promised myself not to make it a forum for complaining about non-disabled people using handicapped bathroom stalls and parking spaces. I still won’t. I did slip up a bit when I got on about the accessible public transportation, but that is a system that really needs to be looked into.

The bathroom stall/parking space issue is one that I just don’t feel too strongly about one way or the other. But I’ve figured out what I want to say about it, then I won’t write about it again other than to respond to comments.

I often hear it said that the handicapped stall is for the disabled, but if nobody disabled is in the bathroom, it is fair game. I could live with that if the same standard were applied to parking spaces. But it’s not. You can get a ticket and a fine for parking in a handicapped parking space without something on your car indicating that you (or someone with you) are disabled.

As long as that’s true, don’t you think that public bathrooms should have a police officer on guard to hand out tickets to non-disabled people who use the handicapped stall? While they are there, they could watch out for U.S. Senators committing “lewd acts” if the action on the accessible stall front is slow.

Wheelchairs, not WMDs

leave a comment »

by Treadmarkz

I hate the war our country is undertaking in Iraq, and I wish it didn’t have to be, and I hope that with a new administration, we will find a sensible solution to bring this sad chapter to a close. But I find some consolation in this story, even if it does appear on the Operation Iraqi Freedom website, which may suggest to some that it is just a chunk of pro-war propoganda. But these soldiers are real people, and it can’t get more real for the people to whom they are bringing these wheelchairs. As small a gesture as it may seem, certainly it meant the world to its beneficiaries.

I’ve heard people (who REALLY hate the war) say that any humanitarian effort toward the people whose lives the war has destroyed is too little too late, but really, what else can they do but try to make things better?