My Plea to Fellow Disability Advocates This Election Year
I’m taking a moment to make a plea to my fellow disability advocates and their families. It’s a nonpartisan, non-disability specific plea, so I hope it does not offend. Please, please, make your voices heard as members of one of the largest U.S. minorities. Ask your chosen candidate for president what plans he or she will put in place to improve the quality of life for people of all diagnoses in our community. Ask for concrete, specific plans or even a campaign task force, concerning the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Make your voices heard.
As full disclosure, I’m a liberal voter and a person on the autism spectrum, but I’m also a well educated voter. I watch the town hall meetings and debates on both sides of the aisle, and I’m noticing a disturbing trend: our absence in the discussion of American policy. An estimated 20 percent of people in this country have disabilities, but you would never know it listening to America’s political discourse. I’m excited to hear politicians taking their case to female Americans, Hispanic Americans, young Americans and African Americans, but I wish our voices were heard. We are a large, dynamic, prolific voting block, and our votes should be earned.
It’s time to challenge the candidates to assemble a disability committee and give us specific policy positions concerning Americans with disabilities and their families. I am inviting @BernieSanders, @HillaryClinton, @DonaldJTrump, @TedCruz and @JohnKasich to take this step. Perfect your policy and earn our votes, as you seek to earn the votes of other minorities. Have a diverse task force, including people with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as mental illnesses. Have family members and professionals on your panels as well. Take the time to speak with us, as you speak with other American minorities, and learn which issues matter the most to us. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s good politics!
Please lobby your chosen candidate on this issue. I already am.
P.S. I’m willing to bet many quality nominees for such a committee exist among the writers at TheMighty.com, if any of you political candidates are interested.