Saturday, August 25, 2012

56 Million People with Disabilities Live in the United States

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.


  1. It does seem like a terrible waste--all that money.

  2. The obscenely, insane amounts of money that are being spent on campaigns should bring this nations to it's knees in shame. S H A M E.

  3. elizabeth? i love your blog.

    love it.

  4. The idea that anyone should be able to wade into the public marketplace and buy health care is so absurd. I mean, you are an educated person, with a good mind for managing your daughter's care. And as you said, having to shop the public marketplace would make you poke your eyes out. Can you imagine how hard it would be for someone with disabilities (or with a disabled family member) who doesn't have your education or abilities? I don't see why we just don't enact across the board universal health care. Done. Period.

    (I know, I'm living in a dream world.)

  5. Sophie reminds me of Botticelli's Birth of Venus in this photo. So lovely.

  6. You always give me something to think about.

    The amount of money spent is appalling. It's ridiculous that TO WIN or even run one must have a king's ransom. Not very Democratic, in my book.

    To me, the President just seems to actually give a damn about those who are different; maybe it's because he's "different" himself, or simply because he's an empathetic, kind person who is trying to do good work with the office he holds. All I feel from the other candidates are flaming balls of anger addressed at fiscal issues, which are far more complicated than the majority of the population realizes.

    I want to go hide, in a hole, until Thanksgiving.

  7. I've got no money for them either. Saving mine because everything promises to be disaster for kids with disabilities, no matter who gets elected.

  8. wow. sometimes i put my head in the sand about these larger political issues (ok, more than sometimes) and im glad that you remind me of the bigger picture out there.

  9. I do wonder when the reality (shit) of the election process will hit the fan for our country, given the obscene amount of money it takes. But, like all things that revolve around money in this country, enacting any meaningful change would deconstruct an entire market that has built itself around the election process and God Forbid we deny those advertisers/marketers/political pundits/etc. their jobs!

    That said, I love that you are on top of the reality of what this would mean for people who are disabled and share it so clearly. Thank you.

    Finally, if Steve is living in a dream world, I'd ask him to move over and make room so the rest of us can climb on in.



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