Monday, July 26, 2010

On the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Twenty years ago---only a few months after finishing the physically challenging Army Basic Training---was only half of my life ago, yet it was also ten years before the birth of my ten-year-old son with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). There is no way I would have imagined then that we would be hanging the handicapped placard on the rear-view mirror, pushing a wheelchair up and down ramps at shopping centers, sitting at accessible tables in restaurants, and so forth.

So now I ask: If the body is like a brush held by the spirit, then who would question giving everyone the chance paint? What discrimination of any type could there possibly be?

But somehow there is.

Perhaps it is right, then, in those situations where we might lose sight of the artist in favor of the brush, that we have tools to compel beneficial action in the absence of human spirit. And perhaps is good, then, to celebrate the creation of such a tool...

But can we celebrate the law asserting freedom without our drawing the distinction to a person confined to a wheelchair?

Had the distinction never been raised, what would need to be cured?

Fortunately, there is no need to dwell here. You will forget the brush was broken when you see the painting's beauty.

From wherever you are in life, help every spirit to be free.

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