What To Expect

Nov 15, 2012
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I love Election Day. I have always thought that that special Tuesday should be declared a national holiday, allowing all Americans to spend the day wondering who and what inevitable changes will be brought on through our right to vote, and gearing up to do their part in achieving or maintaining all candidates’ promises for themselves and their communities. In light of the reelection of President Obama, the promises he has made to the disability community should be examined to provide an idea of what to expect and to fight for as a community over the next four years.

The President’s first term featured positive change for the community. He championed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which serves to decrease the cost of health care, denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and the dropping of coverage due to health care costs.  He passed a mandate for the creation of 100,000 new jobs for individuals with disabilities in the government over a five-year period, which remains on course. Finally, he has maintained and strengthened his record of supporting and defending the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as enforcement of it. However, as even he has said, there remains a long way to go.

President Obama made countless promises to the disability community throughout both this and the 2008 campaign, from comments made by his proxy Ted Kennedy Jr. at the Disability Forum, to a campaign video directly addressing the disability community, to this inclusive statement made on election night:

“I believe we can keep the promise of our founding — the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or where you love — it doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight — you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”

I hope and challenge you to hold not only the President, but also your other federal, state, and local leaders accountable in insuring that every member of the disability community enjoys the same civil rights as every other member of the American community. Familiarize yourself with relevant issues that have been promised, as well as with any new legislation that arises relating to individuals with disabilities. Consisting of almost 60 million Americans, it makes up one of the largest underserved communities in the country, and deserves to be heard and given the same opportunities as every other individual and community.

For a full outline of President Obama’s position on disability issues, please explore the following links:

http://www.barackobama.com/people-with-disabilities

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/disabilities

Author: Luke