Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama, and to all who worked to achieve last night’s victory, including the members of Obama’s disability rights advisory committee. There are so many pressing issues facing our nation that you almost feel sorry for the guy. Still, if he can bring to the White House the same level of organization that he used to run his campaign, we’ll be just fine.
It’s probably too early to do this, but let’s start a tally of disability issues we’d like to see Obama tackle. Either respond to this entry or shoot me an e-mail at Josie@newmobility.com. I’ll go first, reprising my original presidential wish list :
1. Affordable health care. So many in our community won’t even try to get a job because doing so means they’ll lose their coverage. And a sad truth of physical disability is we all need good coverage.
2. A strong, civil rights oriented Department of Justice. The ADA can only be enforced two ways: by the aggrieved individual or by the DOJ. As far as I can see, individuals with disabilities have been pulling more than their weight — it’s well past time for the gov to pitch in.
3. Continue the Bush policies on long term living. As much as it pains me to admit it, the Bush CMS’ long term living reforms are top-notch and have allowed many more people with disabilities to live where they want than ever before.
4. Appoint justices to the Supreme Court who won’t gut constitutional laws, like the current conservative Court seems to enjoy doing, as we’ve seen over and over again with the ADA and other civil rights legislation. If the Court’s not stacked with law-respecting justices, then we’ll lose the new, improved ADA employment rights just like we lost the old ones.
5. Ensure that kids with disabilities are given top-notch education. And excise the term “special needs” from the parent/teacher/social worker lexicon. Honestly. Hit their knuckles with a ruler if that’s what it takes!
OK, that’s my short-list. What’s on yours?