The Huffington Post has a commentary by Paul K. Longmore, who is Professor of History and Director of the Institute of Disability at San Francisco State Univerity: he argues that although there has been lots of talk about "special needs" children since Sara Palin's presidential acceptance speech, there has been little talk about the issues that concern the 54 million Americans with disabilities of all ages. He also compares the stances of the McCain-Palin ticket and the Obama-Biden ticket on healthcare, health insurance and social services for people with disabilities. Here is an excerpt:
Ever since Sarah Palin's acceptance speech, there has been a great deal of talk about "special needs" children but little about the issues that concern the 54 million Americans with disabilities of all ages. Pollsters and pundits almost completely ignore the tens of millions of voters in the disability rights constituency---adults with disabilities, family members, and many professionals---but they will play a much larger role in this election than most observers recognize. That makes understanding their issues important.
Palin's promise to be a "friend and advocate" for the families of children with disabilities has some parents understandably excited. In August, University of North Carolina researchers reported "chilling" rates of "hardship" among both middle class and poor families with disabled children as they struggle "to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads, and to pay for needed health and dental care." Large numbers of adults with disabilities face the same hardships.
Even though 90% of the 54 Americans with disabilities are adults, Palin, John McCain, and the news media have talked almost exclusively about children. And that talk has been mostly about "compassion" not "issues." The McCain-Palin campaign website has a single page on "Americans with Disabilities for McCain," but it says nothing about policy positions. Other pages mention autism and disabled veterans but no other issues.
In contrast, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have said little on the campaign trail about disability issues but their campaign website provides detailed policy proposals in
a comprehensive "Plan to Empower Americans with Disabilities."
Here's a comparison of McCain-Palin's and Obama-Biden's stances on 'healthcare, health insurance, and social services for people with disabilities.
Read the rest of his commentary here ....
Paul K. Longmore is the author of Why I Burned my Book and Other Essays on Disability.