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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day One Obama Agenda a Home Run

Wow, it took all of one day for Obama to address disability rights. At the website Obama has clearly spelled out four far reaching goals. I may quibble with the order but not the goals. This is exactly the sort of agenda tha can truly change the life of disabled people. Will these goals change the current situation people with disabilities find themselves in? No, but it has the potential to profoundly change the life of many disabled people in the years to come. Here are the four goals Obama will seek to address,

1. Educational Opportunities: Obama wants to fund IDEA, Individuals with Disability Act, provide early intervention for people with disabilities and empower disabled people to go to college. He also wants to make college more affordable for people with disabilities and study why so many disabled college graduates do not find employment.

2. End Discrimination: This is not possible but admirable. Obama wants to enforce and restore the ADA, make health care more affordable for people with disabilities, and end genetic discrimination.

3. Increase Employment: Obama wants to require the federal government and its contractors to employ people with disabilities. Private employers will be encouraged to hire people with disabilities by giving them tax benfits.

4. Community Based Living: To me, support for community based living should be the top short term priority of the administration. Far too many elderly and people with disabilities find themselves in nursing homes from which they never emerge. The Community Choice Act would empower many to live in their own homes as they desire.

These four goals are lofty, appropriate, and desperately needed. They can change the lives of people today, next month, and for years to come. I would have added the opposition to assisted suicide, a movement that had great success in 2008, and universal health care. However, the four goals set forth are a finite number, easily remembered, and worthy. I am energized yet again that Obama appears to the proverbial big picture in mind. Disabilities is not the only issue he seeks to address under the White House Agenda: civil rights, poverty, technology and many other issues are included.


Jason Nolan said...

WOW. Nice to see the US setting an example that we can hopefully follow up north.

william Peace said...

Complicit, Yes, the agenda is impressive in both the long and short term. And it appeared on day two of his administration. If we could only get Obama to pay attention to physical access he would be more impressive.

Jason Nolan said...

Indeed. The fact that he's talking about this stuff, and other social issues, right at the beginning, is, I hope, setting the tone for more... and it will get people hopefully thinking differently.

william Peace said...

Complicit, Yes, Obama is indeed setting a tone in terms of policy and disability rights as civil rights. This is encouraging but the lack of access at the inauguration and other events is distressing. How can a man understand the big picture yet at the same time fail on an issue, physical access, that has ready solutions. Excuses some have made are just that--excuses.

Jason Nolan said...

THAT is something he'll need to be educated on. And I hope/assume he'll be reaching out to the right communities. Perhaps he's only created a sense of hope, but we will see. :) Shared your blog post with a number of faculty here interested in these issues. :)

william Peace said...

Complicit, Education sure is the key in terms of disability issues. Obama like all of can indeed learn. I am delighted you have shared my blog with others. It is odd to me that more academics do not think of disability and identity politics and disability rights. A significant and diverse literature now exists that is well worth study.