February 16, 2018
Where is the outrage? Where are the cries of wrath from all the liberals and conservatives? Yes, this has been a terrible week for our country. Seventeen lives snuffed out in an act of murder that could have been prevented. Yes, there is an indictment that another country has been interfering in our election process, something that seems akin almost to an act of war. But something else, equally as dreadful in its way happened this week. In the so-called land of the free, where is the outcry when a whole minority group has had its civil rights blasted to pieces?
What is it you might ask? After all, you probably haven’t heard one word about it on the news. Yesterday, February 15, 2018, the US House of Representatives voted to pass HR620, a bill that in essence guts the Americans with disabilities act, ADA. We still fight for our equality and opportunity, and our supposed representatives pull the damn rug out from under us, in favor of kissing the asses of business.
So, here’s what this bill will do. A disabled person goes to a place of public accommodation. Note that this can be a restaurant, a theater, a store, a mall, a baseball game, any place where the public is welcome to go for business or pleasure. Something about this place hinders the disabled person from being able to enter or participate in the activities. This could be no wheelchair ramp or elevator, denial of access to a person with a service dog, anything that prevents the disabled person from being able to use the public accommodation along with everyone else. And by the way, there are protections for companies that might be too small, or buildings that were built before the ADA became law and where it might be a hardship to change. The bill now says that if a public place is not accessible, the disabled person must write a letter pointing this out and requesting that the business or whatever it is change to make things accessible. And they have six months to do this. Does anybody out there, other than we who have disabilities, understand what this means? Supposedly, this is to eliminate the frivolous ADA lawsuits that proponents of this bill claim are practically an epidemic.
Do you know that in an ADA lawsuit, the plaintiff cannot receive any monetary reward, even if they win?
Do you know that the ADA has been the law of this land since 1990? And yes, it was a Republican president who signed it into law? Do you think businesses still need six months to make the accommodations that would guarantee equal access? Does any other civil rights law give the abuser of the law six months to make things right?
Make no mistake, this is a matter of civil rights. And as soon as people start seeing it as such, things might actually begin to change. I fight for the civil rights of others. Is it too much to expect that others, in turn, would fight for mine?
Can you imagine any other minority group being told they must write a letter to request equal access to anything and then they must give that place six months to comply? Would any other minority group tolerate this? Fuck no! Absolutely not! If this happened to people of other races beside white, to other religions, to women, to gays, to any minority, the outcry would ring through the streets. There would be protests, marches, speeches, twitter would blow up with the comments and RT’s.
So, where is the outcry, where is the damned outrage? Why is everyone, on either side of the damned aisle so silent? Our House of Representatives, basically just told millions of Americans that we do not count, and our equality and our opportunity and our access to the fucking American Dream aren’t important enough even to fight for and stand for the measly piddly laws we already have.
We’re supposed to shut up and keep still and take what we can get with humble gratitude. I feel like Oliver Twist, reaching out with my empty bowl and asking meekly, “Please sir, I want some more.”
Well, I am not going to be meek. I am not going to ask humbly. I am not going to be silent. I will not shut up and learn my place. I am outraged. I will be outraged. I will not cease to cry out against the injustice. I will work to vote out any of my state’s representatives who voted for this travesty. I have fought every day of my life since childhood to be independent and equal. My parents taught me that I am as good as anyone else. I expect the rest of the world to see me that way as well. I will never stop. And damn it, I work full time, I pay taxes, I participate in this country, I vote! Is it too much to ask that I share equally in the wonders and freedoms of this country?
It is the frigging twenty-first century! Are we always going to be kept as second or third-class citizens? Will our fellow Americans continue to turn away and refuse to fight as fiercely for our rights as they would for any other group who does not have equality? Shouldn’t we expect our fellows to speak out and fight for our rights as strongly as they do for immigrants—a cause by the way, with which I am in wholehearted support.
Someone I knew once said, that the able-bodied world masturbates their egos on disabled people. Crude maybe, but often it seems so so true. When I was young, I heard over and over, “You just have to understand. This or that person isn’t used to being around someone who is blind.” What bullshit! Does blindness define who I am? It is part me, as is my silver hair, my five feet stature, the shape of my face. But it’s not who I am inside. Isn’t it time for the rest of the damn world to stop and think, instead of us having to understand that you are uncomfortable, it’s time for you to understand that we are just people. We laugh, we love, we hope, we try. We hurt, we need, we fear, we cry. So, are we really that different?
This bill now goes to the senate. If you live in the US and vote, please contact your Senators and tell them not to pass this piece of crap law. It will only throw us back down the hill we have struggled so hard to climb.
Come on! Stand up! Cry out! Speak out! Be concerned, be pissed, and be downright outraged! Never accept that any of your fellow citizens should be less than any other citizen in this supposedly great country!
Where is the outrage? Come on, let’s hear it! Let’s raise a cry as loud as any cry over injustice. Because that’s what this is, injustice. Putting the burden on the people the original law was meant to protect.
Yes, I’m outraged. I’m fucking outraged. And I will stay outraged, as long as it takes!