While you won’t hear much about it from the national press the “ADA Restoration Act of 2007” cleared two House committees yesterday with only one opposing vote. (I’ll have more to say on that in a minute…)
You can read all about yesterday’s proceedings and learn a good deal about the history of the “ADARA” at the website of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD):
It is heartening that in a time of divisive squabbling in Washington the cause of Americans with disabilities has once again “shown the way” for true bi-partisan legislation and negotiation.
Disability is universal—it transcends race, class, gender, point of origin, sexual orientation, social status, age, fortune, and happenstance. Just so: the lives and concerns of people with disabilities are in fact the most logical point of “ethos” for a largely divided country to reassert its American values of fairness and decency.
While you wouldn’t always know it from the strident qualities of my prose I am at heart an optimist about the United States. I have lived to see kids with disabilities get a real chance in public education—when, not so long ago I was one of those “mainstreamed” kids who struggled without civil rights or appropriate educational supports. Yes, we’re a decent nation. We’ve come a long way in many areas. There’s reason for a positive outlook. And yes, there’s also reason to stay strident. Rights and liberty are inconvenient for the ruling classes and we forget this at our peril.
“Aw, c’mon, Kuusisto, you don’t really think we have a ‘ruling class” in the United States, do you? I mean, don’t you agree that we’re a ‘classless society” etc. etc.?”
(The interlocutor suggested above looks like a cross between Bob Novack and Pee Wee Herman, FYI.)
Yes, I think there’s a ruling class in the U.S. But the progressive
values that are central to a Christian nation contend with unbridled
capitalism and that’s because we have this thing called the
constitution. When you are troubled by the question of what the ruling
classes might look like, just look and see who’s come out against the
But I digress.
While yesterday’s negotiations in committee are not perfect they go a
long way toward reestablishing the intent of Congress when it adopted
the original ADA and thereby set the course for liberty and human
rights that is still reverberating around the world.
As for the one dissenter yesterday: his argument against the ADARA is
that we ought to have more medical professionals involved in defining
what a disability really is.
That sounds good until you consider the fact that the majority of
American doctors know less about disability than one generally
supposes, which is why our nation’s best medical programs are now
actively paying attention to the field of disability studies.