06 December 2012

And Disability For All

So, yesterday I shared a bit written characterizing Lincoln but that characterized generally a type of "the American."

Humility belongs with mercy among the cardinal Christian virtues.  "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."  But the demands of Christianity and the success myth are incompatible....In a world that works through ambition and self-help, while inculcating an ethic that looks upon their results with disdain, how can an earnest man, a public figure living in a time of crisis, gratify his aspirations and yet remain morally whole?
I revisit it because of its applicability to this:

The failure of the Senate on Tuesday to ratify a U.N. treaty aimed at creating equal opportunity for disabled people around the world says a lot about the modern evolution of the Republican Party....

The ADA extended protections included under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the more than 40 million disabled Americans. Employers were banned from discriminating against mentally or physically handicapped applicants who could perform the “essential” functions of a job and required to make “reasonable” efforts to make their workspaces friendly to those with disabilities. There was also a public accommodations provision. 
Again, to the chapter on Lincoln (or Lincoln's "self-made myth" in Hofstadter):

"The Jefferson party," he wrote privately at about the same time, "was formed upon its supposed superior devotion to the rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only , and greatly inferior."  The Democratic Party [the "Jefferson Party" of Lincoln's day], he charged, had abandoned Jeffersonian tradition by taking the position that one man's liberty was absolutely nothing when it conflicted with another man's property.  "Republicans," he added, in an utterly characteristic sentence which ought to be well remembered, "are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar."  There is self-portraiture in the remark...
Now, I don't know that it makes much sense to ever ascribe "party beliefs" to folks except maybe one "believer" at a time.  I think we all have our own "personal Jesus" (be he an upper case savior or lower case symbol or something else entirely) and we likely have our own political sense.  We may club with one category, but your own brain makes its own crazy.

Anyway, my thought in combining these was not to indicate a worldview that was liberal or conservative as regards governance or regulation or welfare or charity or property...rather it was to show a difficult conflict that arises in most of us when we conflate the "national" or "governing" interests with our personal interests.  We will often undercut our own positions with little or no awareness of doing so, and to our overall detriment as single members of a larger, managed, governed group.

So, ADA, says, I think, some people cannot be conceived of as normal or equal compared the the statistical average of people.  And that when it comes to economic subsistence these people must be "excepted" from our "bootstrapping" ideology.  The reasons for disability make a "moral" difference to folks too.  But let's set that aside.

All I'm saying is that the ADA allows us to think in terms of the whole versus its parts.  The whole should care for its parts but only sometimes and only in very detailed and bureaucratic ways and only in ways that can change as the "political wind" blows.

I suppose I meant to say that the "progressive" idea is to "regulate" the whole so as to serve the parts AS PARTS and not necessarily as people.  The idea is to treat the "mass" as an abstract in the "humane" way.

But, it seems to me that we all can be "disabled" in some capacity and could all be measured as differently capable to "succeed."  What I need is "approval" of that assertion.  What I need is a validation of my disability.  I need a clause in a law or a paragraph in the DSM which will define me and offer exemption.

What we have failed to do is understand that having money or its partner property (which includes "ideas" that will make money) be the ground of economic validation is what gives us "human" difficulties.  This negates or puts well off the balance sheet, any other validation.  Your very human worth must not be "bottom-lined."  But it is.

In this way the ADA is a kind of "bottom-line" for the economic being and offers the kind of exemption or special consideration that all of us should have and give.

I know I'm not tying this into a neat (or any) argument.  But I suppose I wanted to say that our "progressive" idea of moral and material advance cares for the species of "homo sapiens" and measures that "success" by power, by wealth, by brains focused on technological advance and so on.  This leaves a vast and and massive lower order of humans--a sub-species.

All of us ADA.

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