Reflections of an Advocate, September 17, 2010

Bigotry is inhumane.

For as long as far back as memory allows me I have always found it troubling when people were being treated inhumanely. This may explain why two of my childhood heroes were Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Geronimo. They still are heroes of mine. The hero list for me has grown since then. It now includes Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Frederick Douglass, Coretta Scott King, Dorothy Height, Father Mychal Judge and others.

Anyway, today’s reflections revolve around those moments all advocates face when you simply can’t believe the challenge you are facing is even there in the first place. For example, it boggles my mind that there is even a question about making sure polling sites are accessible to all. There is even a cluster of numbnuts who call themselves, I swear to God, the Lever Lovers. They seem to think  voting machines with levers are the only way to go, too damned bad if you are paralyzed. Boggles the mind, at least it does mine.

And then there were two moments this morning that boggled my mind in similar fashion.

First, I left a voice mail for Timothy J. Feeney asking why his company’s voice mail (call them yourself) has, for some time now, said they are under contract with the Department of Health whey they’re not and did he intend to continue to misrepresent his credentials to adults and children with disabilities.

Second, an email was sent to Maria Dibble, executive director of STIC (Southern Tier Independence Center) in Binghamton, NY, again asking her to explain why STIC, which is likely to be under contract with the New York State Department of Health for the Neurobehavioral Resource Project, plans to give the work to someone like Feeney.

There was a moment when I sat back, took a sip of my coffee, and shook my head. It struck me as somewhat unbelievable that any of us have to deal with someone prancing around pretending to have degrees they don’t have much less ask questions of a provider like STIC, that apart from this situation has a good reputation, why they plan to give work to the prancing ninny.

But, when I find myself shaking my head over perplexing challenges like these, I remind myself of the days people were made to ride in the back of the bus or drink and eat in specific locations because of the color of their skin. That was pretty unbelievable too.

So, the bad news? Bigotry marches on. Only bigotry would allow someone to think it is okay to be or to hire someone who is misleading an entire population of people.  The good news? Advocacy, including this advocate, marches on as well. I like my role models: King, Geronimo, Height, Mandela, Gandhi, Douglass, Wiesel.  Who might the role models for the bigots be? Maybe the likes of Bull Connor, Lester Maddox, David Duke, George Lincoln Rockwell, Adolf Hitler.

I like my role models better.

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