Happy Bday USA (grateful to be here)Jul 03 07:07
It's the eve of our country's birthday. Instead of making potato salad, I decided to write a post about how awesome it is to live here (in case you forgot).
We can get pretty complacent living here in the US. Just like the rich get used to having all the luxuries they have (a Mercedes as their third fun car, a vacation home in Hawaii), we too get used to having all of the "accessible" luxuries in life. Getting used to them is never a good thing. Whenever we take anything for granted, we stop appreciating it.
It took a lot to make this country accessible; a lot of legal wrangling, lobbying, and we have the Americans with Disabilities Act to thank (as you well know, shame if you don't). The ramps have been erected, the push button door openers have been installed, the laws have been passed to protect are employment rights. What other country has given this to their citizens? Not a single one.
Next time you feel like complaining about someone parking in your handicap spot or a broken door opener at your favor coffee shop continually not getting fixed, put yourself in check and think of what it might be like to be paralyzed in Vietnam, India, Japan or the worst place in the world in my opinion to be disabled, North Korea (they purge). We have it so good here I think it's hard for many of us to deeply comprehend.
I do however always get a hint at what might be like to live in a country that doesn't care about accessibility whenever my chair is broke, or when I visit a country club that refuses to put any accessible features in (they don‘t have to afterall; it‘s a private establishment). Not until you're truly immobile, or stuck without someone helping you, do you learn to truly appreciate everything you have.
Happy Birthday USA! I want to thank the veterans, those past and living, for protecting our rights granted by the U.S. government, and for making sure we're able to live in a country where we can create a society where everyone, disabled and able-bodied, can live as freely as possible.
Now where did I put my Roman Candles from last year?
What do you love most about our amazing country?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.