Roll on Washington

By Scott Porter June 23, 2013

Roll on Washington

By: Scott Porter

I got an email from a friend who shared a URL with a picture of me. The article that went with the picture was titled "Consumer Activists Demand Federal Health Care Policy Inclusion." I have been called a lot of things in my life, but I am pretty sure this is the first time I have been called an “activist”.  I am not an activist.  I don't know the fancy acronyms or legislative bill numbers, activists do.  I am a person with a visible physical deficit.

Truth be known, there are probably more people with some form of deficit than those without any deficits at all.  Most of those people don't need adaptations in the products they buy or use to function.  I do.

So what is a normal person?  Am I in the majority or the minority?

Are you in the majority or the minority?  Are you  a normal person?

The answer depends on how we look at things and ultimately make the definitions.

People who wear glasses would not be happy if they were all required to wear the same lenses to correct their vision.  I mean glasses are glasses right?  You can get a pair at the discount store for $2.00.

Yet some of those vision deficient people say a wheelchair is a wheelchair, and you can get one on ebay cheap.

If I interviewed for a job with an employer they may look at me as a hire that would cost them because they have to put in a ramp into the building and maybe put some grab bars in the bathroom.  Yet they will hire some one who requires a desk chair (I bring my own chair to work).  Have you seen what office furniture costs?!  Blind employees wonder why the employer spends so much money on electricity bills for lighting as an accommodation for those employees who can't memorize the building layout and read with their finger tips.

So what's my point?  We all have blemishes.  We all need assistance to function in our local, state, and national communities.  We all need to understand that.  I am not an activist.  I am an individual with a story.  That story is important for legislators to know when they write laws and vote.  That is what I did in Washington, DC, I told my story.

You are an individual with a story.  That story is important for legislators to know when they write laws and vote.  You don't have to go to Washington or your state capital to tell your story, your congress person has district offices.  Your state legislators have local offices also.  Make an appointment and visit the local staff.

Tell them how the assistance you have received has made you valuable (that is, how you have been able to participate in the community).

You don't have to know all the fancy acronyms or legislative bill numbers, you just have to tell your story.  In your daily routines, take your friends and family so they can experience a day in your life and understand what barriers you still face in being a functioning member of the community.  That story is important for your friends and family to know when they vote.