Growing a Tree

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."


Something happened in my state that has left me reeling – I knew it was the likely outcome but didn’t want to believe that there are so many people in my state who simply cannot see the nuance behind the party line and propaganda. Something dark is going on in our country when money buys elections and the true voice of the people is getting smaller and quieter.

We turn on each other, hurl insults, make accusations. We are a country divided – where once we saw parents, friends, neighbors we now see union thugs, welfare queens, corporate cronies. We see red or blue, right or left. We no longer see a middle ground.

Aside from the above, I want to keep this blog free from my personal politics – not because I’m ashamed or afraid to share them (and I’m sure they’re rather obvious anyway), but because disability advocacy is a rare thing in that it is a completely bipartisan exercise. Well, it’s actually better stated that it’s a nonpartisan exercise.

Disability affects each and every one of us. We all have a loved one, a friend, a neighbor, a classmate, a coworker who could fall into this category. It is also the only minority group than anyone could possibly join at any time, and since all of us are aging, even if we do not become part of the disability community, we will benefit from the service system in place for the elderly and those with disabilities. Whether you bleed red or blue or otherwise, disability issues affect us all.

Indeed, the rights demanded by the disability community all cross over into the so-called typical world. Access to safe and reliable transportation? Access to the workforce, equal pay for equal work? A way of approaching job placement that better pairs workers with jobs? Access to quality health care?

These are all things that are a benefit to everyone in our country.

And since these are long-term goals, a bipartisan approach is absolutely essential. Elected officials come and go. They are members of certain committees during one term, in positions of lesser power the next. Perhaps someone you thought was an enemy because they are a member of the “wrong” party has a child with a disability and would actually like to do more for disability advocacy but needs a nudge in the right direction. Or maybe they support these programs already but hearing about an additional angle only bolsters their support. (A good example of this is an elected official who is passionate about veteran issues – there is a lot of overlap with disability issues.)

Everyone is a potential ally in the disability advocacy movement. It doesn’t matter their party affiliation, their personal politics, or really even their voting record. Everyone needs to hear our voices’ and our children’s voices.

At a time when our country feels bitterly divided, it feels good to advocate for something that is a benefit to all.

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