People with disabilities need flexible and secure work and, when out of work, financial support. Even in developed nations, they are often denied this, inflicting hopelessness, isolation and depression on people seeking to contribute to society. As disability rights advocate, IndependenceChick, writes in a recent post, linked below, there is a need for social and political activism amongst disabled people to empower themselves, support the most vulnerable and create change.
In the US, the disability rights movement has made legislative and social progress, writes the blogger, a Republican supporter who refused to vote for Donald Trump partly due to his public mocking of a disabled reporter, but the unemployment rate amongst this group remains disproportionately high. Gains made are questioned, as the writer queries the authenticity and security of the jobs created for disabled people.
With the blogger citing Democratic presidential nominee candidate, Joe Biden, for recently infantilising a disabled activist during an interaction, she proposes a need to create further change across the board. She proposes self-empowerment and group empowerment:
“Focus on the life and the dignity, not the cure. Yeah, cures might be nice–I’ve sure thought about a cure for cerebral palsy. But I don’t sit around pining for one, because I am worthy to exist as I am.”
With dignity and self-worth, disabled people can campaign for equality and fairness: “Keep speaking, typing, signing, drawing, whatever you need to do. Communities and tribes like ours depend a lot on grassroots movements. If you can reach 5-10 people, well, that’s 5-10 who are thinking differently about you, about disability.”
Perhaps the most important proposal she has is for the joining of social networks: Find your tribe. This can be the local disability rights advocates, but it can and should also be tribes based around your interests (mine include writers, Christians, Christian writers :), Potterheads, theater mavens…)
A disability rights movement will necessarily include internal disagreement and inconsistencies. The blogger is a ‘red’ and challenges abortion as being anti-disabled people. Moreover, the range of disabilities experienced by people varies extremely widely. Even within a specific group of people, such as those diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, the range of symptoms, triggering contexts and levels of social functioning are great. This heterogeneity can be a strength, as the movement can bring together people from across social, economic and political boundaries and perspectives to create a truly mass movement. Moreover, the principle of fairness, equality and dignity will necessarily connect the movement to other political movements.
Click below to read the full blog-post by IndependenceChick, ‘Political Bulletin: Both Parties Have Failed PWDs. Here’s What to Do About It.’
The title of this post probably doesn’t shock you. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it either, because this blog has never been political. But whether you love politics or are like me and would rather the nasty thing never existed, disability can be political. “The personal is political,” as someone once said. So if you are a person with a disability or not–perhaps especially if not–you need to know both parties have failed big-time. You also need to know what to do about it.
This isn’t exactly news. It’s been going on since time immemorial. At first, that was because people with disabilities were largely ignored. We weren’t expected to be or do anything except sit in institutions. We certainly weren’t expected to incite political change, so everybody from the President to Joe and Jane Schmo pretended we weren’t there, unless they were…
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