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Disability Bitch vs negative politicians

30th July 2009

Readers, when was the last time you heard a politician say something nice about disabled people? And by 'say something nice' I don't mean patting a crippled child on the head during a tour of the local hospital. No. I'm asking you about whether you've heard a politician giving a speech indicating that they believed disabled people were equal contributors to society, something other than benefit-scrounging scum. Nope, I can't remember either.
Barack Obama
Politicians talk about disabled people all the bloody time and it goes without saying that I HATE POLITICIANS, all of them equally, in a helpfully non-partisan way, because all any of them ever blather on about is social care, benefit reform and blue badge entitlement. Yawn.

So imagine my excitement, readers, when I discovered that the President of the United States of America had given a speech stating that disabled people are universally brilliant. I almost cried. Not only that, the leader of the free world was doing so to acknowledge the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the cross-Atlantic equivalent of our Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Can I just say: 19 years! Suck on that, British government! We've only had the DDA for 14 years and our country's been in existence far longer than the USA.

Just as I was preparing to pack up and emigrate, I thought it might be an idea to listen to the speech itself.

Listen to Obama's speech on disability
Michelle obama
Now, I know Barack Obama and I have crossed swords in the past but I'm always willing to give a bloke a second chance, and I had high hopes, I really did.

Within minutes, my heart was sinking. Practically the first thing President Obama did was mention his "vibrant and athletic" father-in-law, who had Multiple Sclerosis. Apparently he 'never complained' and never missed a day's work.

Immediately I sensed that I am not Mr Obama's type of cripple. Not only has no one ever called me 'athletic - and nor are they ever likely to - but I'm apparently always complaining and just recently I missed, ooh, about six months worth of work due to the foibles of my various medical conditions. Oh dear. Sorry. It's almost like I'm disabled or something. Oh and apparently the president's father-in-law used 'two canes' whereas I only have need for a single walking stick.

Look, I'm sure Michelle Obama's dad was a perfectly top drawer crip. He did, after all, spawn a daughter with amazing fashion sense who also became one of the most powerful women in the world. It's just, well... I can't describe how much it irritates me when someone in a high profile position takes one disabled person who they happen to know quite well and holds them up as an example which the rest of crippledom should follow.

Mr Obama, the world is more complicated than that. I notice that some American commentators have taken umbrage with this too. Fair enough, I thought.
The Whitehouse
I listened to the rest of the speech and my ears pricked up when Mr Obama mentioned that having the right to vote only carries meaning when you can enter the polling booth and cast it, something which British politicians would do well to remember. And my interest was also piqued when he insisted that access to education and employment were crucial to disabled people. Yeah, yeah, I know British politicians bang on about such things all the time, but mainly in the context of speeches about cutting back on disability benefit.

The thing is, I know the speech was imperfect. I know our American buddies will be sitting back and waiting for Obama to act upon the things he said, not just scrawl his signature on another flippin' treaty. But really, really, I can't imagine a British politician making a speech acknowledging disabled people as equal so completely.
In recognition, I'd like to offer Obama a helping hand with this implementation stuff.
Roosevelt memorial
See, he mentioned that there's a ramp in the Whitehouse that was put there for the benefit of secretly disabled president, Franklin D Roosevelt. Obama claimed that FDR's disability made him a better president, even if he didn't bother telling his voting public about it. I couldn't help but agree. In fact, I am on my way to Washington now. As soon as I arrive, I will be heading to the Whitehouse and offering to chop off his legs. It's a public service. It'll make him a much better president. I'll be welcomed with open arms.

MillsWatch

Scratch MillsWatch, this week. There's a new crip in town. Breaking news from the paparazzi is that some hot girls from Hollyoaks have taken their kit off for a new calendar. Kerching. Closer inspection of the identically buxom skinny blondes in bikinis revealed one of them to be Kelly-Marie Stewart, who plays Hayley Ramsey. Kelly-Marie uses a wheelchair, in Hollyoaks as in her real life, something that - miraculously - the Daily Mail didn't see fit to mention on this occasion. Most likely because they'd been hypnotised by that pink halterneck top.
Oh yeah, and Heather's bought a new wholefood company. I'm so over you, Heather.

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