Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Mobility: McCain-Palin ticket bad news for Americans with disabilities

From Josie Byzek's blog for New Mobility, a magazine for wheelchair users:

The choice of Sarah Palin has many pundits scratching their heads, trying to figure out what to make of her candidacy. Some are calling her the “anti-Hillary,” as choosing her seems an obvious ploy on McCain’s part to lure women who want to see that last “glass ceiling” shattered away from the left with a female candidate who is diametrically opposed to just about every major feminist cause.

Palin’s supportive of McCain’s health care package, which seems to be a glorified tax credits program. She’s virulently anti-choice, which besides putting her outside the mainstream of most of America, is a slap in the face of the feminists who had so much invested in the dream of a progressive woman president. And here’s the kicker — Palin, 44, has five children, the youngest of which, born less than a year ago, has Down’s syndrome. Already we’re hearing some in the disability rights community thinking this might give Palin an instant sympathy with our issues, but the kid’s not even a year old, and the only “points” Palin gets is she kept the baby, which is her choice.

And where on earth do I start with McCain? Yes, the guy has a disability, and he’s given lip service to the ADA and the new ADA Act Amendments. But he’s pledged to put even more right-wing extremists on the Supreme Court and federal courts, and this will mean more anti-ADA and generally anti-civil rights rulings. So he tells those of us who are for civil rights that he supports the ADA, and yet he gives the ol’ wink-nod to those on the right by pledging to seat judges who’ll undo all of our – and Congress’ – good work. Sure, he may be gunning for Roe v. Wade, but experience says justices who are pro-life are also generally anti-civil rights.

And McCain is stubbornly, publicly against the community choice act. Why in the name of all that is good does he hold such an indefensible position? The irony here is that the CCA, formerly known as MiCASSA, was first sponsored by Newt Gingrich, who as we all know engineered the Republican take-over back in ’94. What on earth is McCain’s game? He says he’s for disability rights, for the ADA, for integration, and yet his actions declare just the opposite.