Thursday, October 16, 2014

Making fun of guys in wheelchairs

Thanks to the Pulitzer-worthy Nick Anderson.

"Celebrities use wheelchairs in airports," an attendant in Charleston, S.C., once explained to me, "because people don't look at you if you're in a chair."

He is right. People often avert their eyes, either because they don't want to appear as if they're gawking at someone with a disability or because disabled people simply make them feel uncomfortable. To me, however, a wheelchair has never been a symbol of failure or of "being crippled." It is, instead, a symbol of independence and autonomy. Wheelchairs save people's lives, literally.

Maybe Greg Abbott understands what Lamar White is saying here.  It's obvious Dave Carney, Abbott's political adviser, doesn't get it.

The Abbott campaign went insane after Lamar White Jr., a law student who has cerebral palsy, spoke at a press conference in support of Davis. According to the Austin-American Statesman, ‘After horrendous wheelchair attack ad, Wendy Davis uses disabled people as props,’ David Carney, a top Abbott adviser, tweeted about Monday’s news conference.”


Beyond the tweet, Abbott’s campaign and supporters have been trying to discredit Mr. White by claiming that he was not disabled enough to speak in support of Davis. The idea of a ranking scale for individuals with disabilities is as insulting as it oppressive. Individuals such as Greg Abbott can still operate a motor vehicle, but many individuals Cerebral Palsy and other neurological conditions can not, because there is more to disability than physical mobility. Just because a person can stand up or move under their power does not mean that they are less disabled than a person in a wheelchair.

Republicans had the media fooled for a few days, but after the Abbott campaign has chosen to humiliate differently abled Americans, there is a backlash brewing. The media are rethinking their criticism of the ad, and examining Abbott’s record of denying disabled individuals their ADA rights. Republicans couldn’t resist. They had to attack a disabled individual, and now Greg Abbott’s record is under scrutiny.

The Abbott campaign has insulted millions of Americans with their dehumanization of individuals with disabilities. As Attorney General, Abbott has stripped disabled Texans of their rights. As a candidate for governor, Abbott is robbing differently-abled individuals and their loved ones of their dignity.

That's your boy, Texas Republicans.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

You've probably seen my Tweet on this:

After horrendous new outbreak of idiocy, @GregAbbott_TX uses yet more idiots as props, advisers, consultants, etc.#GregAbbott #newlow