Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Many Disabled Americans Share This Minority Victory on Inauguration Day
While I have never been spit on, enslaved or beaten and I have never experienced the bold disdain for being disabled I still identify with the discrimination that many African Americans face. You see, in my life, I have been asked to leave a restaurant by a manager who claimed that my presence was upsetting the other patrons. I have been denied access to classroom activities in school. I know what it is like to have teachers refuse to have me in their class rooms and I have also been denied jobs I was qualified for. I have tasted the bitterness of discrimination and I have witnessed first hand the heart wrenching abuse of those who have in history been viewed as less than human.
In our American history disabled people have been enslaved, imprisoned and euthanized. Cases among cases go to court every year over sterilization and institutionalization and the right to live.
I will never forget Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks but I will also not forget Terri Schiavo and the bitter fight her parents gave to keep her alive and the failure of our system to not only rule on the side of life but to allow a woman to starve in her bed. While Thomas Condon will spend 2.5 years in prison for gross abuse of a corpse for taking pictures. There is a grey distorted line in what is sacred.
While Obama isn’t a super hero and he is not going to change things over night this Inauguration day is a celebration of the changes and the strides we have made in our society. A Black man is our President and he represents that we can all achieve regardless of our condition. He represents how attitudes can change and America is paving the way for a more tolerant and accepting generation that can take diversity and use it to bridge gaps. He represents the “Dream” that Martin Luther King had. So while he may not be a super hero that is going to replenish our economy over night or rid the world of her evils and bring world peace, President Obama is still an American Hero and his inspiration could become contagious and we could all work together to usher in a new America, and the change that she so desperately needs.