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Monday, August 11, 2008

Catching Up

I have not been home for much of the last month. Like many others, August seems to be the time of year when I get away from home. I spent some time in Vermont and was with out local Boy Scout troop at summer camp. The weather while I was away was wild. My son and I got poured and hailed on. When in Vermont flash flooding destroyed a bridge and several roads were badly damaged. Further complicating matters was end of the summer class lectures and a broken computer. Thankfully I own an Apple computer and not a single file was lost.

Two fascinating stories have developed or emerged in the last month. First, BBC America broadcast a show that examined Oscar Pistorius efforts to compete in the Olympics. I came away from this show with decidedly mixed feelings. Pistorius is clearly a gifted runner and his life revolves around a single minded effort to compete as an elite athlete. Yet he does not consider himself disabled and a part of me thinks he is very much like Christopher Reeve: a person who is wealthy and thinks he is morally superior to disabled people. Variables that cannot be ignored, ones that I will comment on in a later entry, is the fact Pistorius is South African, the show broadcast about him produced in Britain, and this blog archetypically American.

The second story I will comment about that a reader pointed out concerns the Paul and Barbara-Anne Chapman family. These parents of two children, one of whom is disabled, were refused residence in Canada. The reason they could not enter Canada appears simple: their daughter would be a "burden" on the Canadian health care system. I need to do further reading about this story before I make any comments. Yet it appears at this point that the Chapman's experience reinforces my concern that a national health care system is as flawed as the private system. Do not misconstrue this statement as support for the existing private health care system in the USA but rather acknowledgment that a nationalized system discriminates against disabled people in a different way.

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