Accessibility at the inauguration

… just go read Liz Henry’s post. She is more eloquent (and informed!) about this topic than I ever could be.

But if you want a peek into my outrage on the topic, I do have a couple things to get off my chest

(Rant mode on.)

HELLO!  Did you all not even CONSIDER accessibility when you were planning the inaugural?  Was there not even a possibility that ONE important attendee on the stand may need help, access, a ramp, or other accomodation to enjoy the ceremony just like any other American?  Did it not even occur to you to check to see that the Vice President had the most basic accomodations for his injury? You had two days warning, after all, and he IS WAS the vice-president.

/Rant mode off.

But really. . . if this is the best we can do for the Vice President of the United States, what hope is there for the rest of us?

I’ve not spent much time in a wheelchair, not like my blogfriend Liz, so I barely feel qualified to talk about this … but it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to start understanding the basics.

1. Access.  Can everyone get into the venue?

2. Participation.  Can everyone perceive the action and participate, whether hearing or sight impaired?

3. Compassion.  Can everyone get the respect they deserve?

I’m no Cheney fan, but when I saw him sitting alone in the midst of a crowd of happy chatters, my heart sank.  He was alone, behind the bulletproof glass, and no one thought to sit with him at that important moment.

I remember sitting alone in a wheelchair myself, accidentally left alone facing the wall in the chemotherapy unit, and feeling helpless.  It was a horrible feeling, even worse than the needle and IV bag that I’d have to carry around that day, with the chemicals that burned my cells and took my strength.  It sucked.

So, seriously.  Next time?  Let’s not whisk our wheelchaired friends off to the side so summarily, okay?

Access.

It’s the law.

7 Responses to Accessibility at the inauguration

  1. BetteJo says:

    .. and like most people – not something I even thought about. Thanks for the post, it’s something I SHOULD think about.

  2. sprucehillfarm says:

    It made me really sad too!

  3. clergygirl says:

    great post.

  4. Susan K says:

    Having pushed my mother around for many years in a wheelchair, over curbs, through tall grass, up short flights of stairs, I am all for access. It is important and necessary and should be viewed as a priority regardless of the existence of a law.

    But lets also remember. This was access to a TEMPORARY structure, built for one purpose, and one purpose only. Torn down and rebuilt in another 4 years. It looked to me like access for everyone was cumbersome – up these stairs, down this hall, across this foyer, down more stairs etc. Many of those staircases cannot be made accessible – too long, too steep – you can’t just lay a sheet of plywood down, the slope is wrong. A freight elevator, while not elegant, is certainly fiscally responsible. The man GOT to the platform.

    Now – as for people leaving him alone – THAT is something that someone can and should have done something about.

  5. Suebob says:

    Amen, my sister. A ramp would probably have been appreciated by some of the more elderly people there, too.

    My sis had MS and was in a wheelchair for about 15 years. She had plenty of pet peeves but one of mine was stores that packed their merchandise so close together that she could not shop. I would have to dart into the racks, bring something out, show it to her, and go back while she waited on the outskirts.

    Shopping for oneself preserves independence and dignity.

  6. Mandi says:

    my mom has MS and is in a wheelchair so this is a subject that gets me going easily. thanx for touching on it.

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