ADAPT Fights Slavery in 2009

The nation’s largest grassroots disability rights organization this week unleashed  24 simultaneous protests at Democrat offices across the country including the Democrat National Committee’s (DNC) office in Washington D.C. and Senator Max Baucus’ office in Missoula, MT. Baucas is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

In a very real way, ADAPT is fighting slavery. Federal law requires states to pay for institutionalizing seniors and people with disabilities. However, states have to ask permission! to pay for services that would allow seniors and people with disabilities to live in the community. In other words, the law forces people with disabilities and seniors into institutions and robs them of their freedom.

This is slavery. Hard to believe? I hear you. But it’s true. Consider this; forced institutionalization violates the United Nation’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 4 of the UDHR reads: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

How can we call robbing people of their freedom by forcing them into institutions against their will anything other than slavery?

Lest anyone doubt the power and significance of the UDHR, consider this. It is the most translated document in the world.

ADAPT is rightfully demanding Congress eliminate the Medicaid institutional bias this year as part of healthcare reform or by passing the Community Choice Act. ADAPT protested at Democrat offices largely because the Democrats are in the majority. However, I would urge ADAPT to protest at Republican offices as well. One party may be the warden, but all the jailers have keys.

Over the years I have become more and more convinced that bringing injustice into the light is one of the most effective ways of destroying. Moreover, I know of a man who said, “I expose slavery in this country, because to expose it is to kill it. Slavery is one of those monsters of darkness to whom the light of truth is death.” He also said, “I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted.”

Now I can’t do much about it if you disagree with my belief that bringing injustice into the light helps destroy it. Nor can the man I quoted do anything about it if you disagree with him. He died many years ago. His name was Frederick Douglass.


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