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56 Million People with Disabilities Live in the United States

Posted Aug 25 2012 7:00pm
Sophie, 2007

I know I read somewhere that this year's election is costing something like 10 gazillion dollars -- all money that goes toward television ads, giant billboards, staffing, plane rides, dinner parties and barbecues and vote-buying, I imagine. Or influence-buying or whatever. And yeah, I know that some of that influence peddling is for causes that I support and believe in. But, whenever I hear the numbers -- from whatever side -- I feel nauseous for obvious reasons that I'm not going to talk about here. When the DNC calls me on the phone, asking for money, I hang up. I have donated absolutely nothing this year to the Obama campaign, NOT because I don't want him to win the election, but rather because I'm making, albeit ineffectually, a tiny little protest about the obscene amounts of money thrown around. I want to be able to say, in my heart, that I haven't contributed to the oligarchy -- at least in any meaningful way.

Allow me to be a bit narrow-minded in this space and pluck one issue out of the ether -- the issue of disability -- and judge the candidates running for President.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's economic and social platforms, particularly Ryan's Medicaid plan, spell disaster for children and adults with disabilities. Nearly every major disability policy expert, as well as non-profit foundation censures the Ryan plan.  I don't pretend to understand the complexities, although when I hear the word "voucher," I imagine myself shopping for healthcare for Sophie in the "free market" which makes me think about poking my eyeballs out with ice-picks. You can read about them (not my eyeballs -- the Ryan Plan and what it means for the disabled) HERE   and HERE.

“For each of the two years that Paul Ryan has been chair of the House budget committee, he’s produced budgets that we’ve opposed,” said Katy Neas, senior vice president for government relations at Easter Seals. “The pick of Paul Ryan gives people another opportunity to look at the policies that he and the other candidates have proposed.”
The website  has good discussions about disability and politics, if you want to explore the issue further.

President Obama recently met with a group of youth with disabilities to discuss the needs of the community. While there was no one there with a severe disability, like Sophie, the issues addressed -- unemployment, inequality, access, inclusion, healthcare and medication -- were met by the President with seeming sincerity and seriousness. Aside from the Affordable Care Act, which is far from ideal but makes inroads for those with disabilities, it remains to be seen what progress will be made. Something tells me that true awareness and empathy for the most vulnerable in our country is a great step forward.

I'm waiting anxiously as are 56 million others in this great country.
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