By Doug Hall
For months – perhaps years – we’ve been subjected to endless arguments and politically initiated behaviors that we wouldn’t accept from our children. Don’t worry – much of the current rhetoric should be gone in about six months. Of course, then we need to deal with the aftermath of the elections. We’re constantly hearing on TV, radio, newspapers, and even on our phones that we should support one candidate over another, or reject someone because he or she is trying to destroy our nation. Under the charges and countercharges, the maneuvering and posturing is a desire for power – political power to impose the ideas, opinions, and, yes, prejudices of the winning candidates.
Why should we care? What can and should we do about it? As for the first question, we’d better care. What if the winning people decided to limit Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? What if the elected people decide to limit the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other legislation and regulations surrounding disability rights?
What about access to healthcare? Candidates have spoken about the economy of the nation. What about our personal economy? Candidates and elected officials like to talk about the lack of jobs, but how about the fact that the jobless rate among people with disabilities is recognized as being about 70 percent – much higher than the national average. What are they going to do about that? These and many other concerns need to be addressed, but have you heard any of the candidates even mention the term “disability?”
As for the question of what we are going to do about it, I suggest that we get involved, both in influencing candidates by asking questions and exercising our responsibilities to vote. Our leaders and advocates in Florida have been working to enable all citizens to vote independently and in secrecy, and we’ve made much progress. We need to get out there and be seen as a force to be reckoned with. I urge all of us to register to vote – and then be seen at the polls casting our wishes in the August primary and the November general election. Remember, the person who chooses not to vote is saying that he or she supports the ideas and policies of the candidate who wins.