Sunday, January 18, 2009

People with disabilities are prominent at the inauguration

Day After Halloween 2008-11-01 026

People with disabilities are getting attention at the upcoming inauguration.  A New Hampshire couple is on Obama’s whistle-stop tour.  They’ve had their trials:

Kevin Meehan, 42, recently lost his job as a nurse. Kirsten Meehan, 41, home-schools their children, Harper, 7, and Seamus, 6, and is disabled. With rods and fused vertebrae in her back due to scoliosis, Kirsten Meehan can walk but tires easily. The inaugural committee has offered to get her a ticket with a seat. "That would be great," Kirsten Meehan said in a telephone interview. "But I'd probably stand barefoot on a bed of nails through the whole thing. That's how much I want to be there."

On the Cape, some developmentally disabled people are going to the ceremonies.

The inaugural committee is trying to make the ceremonies as accessible as possible, but disability groups are concerned.  I suspect organizers are doing the best they can with a very crowded and very sensitive event.

Many people with disabilities will watch.  Described video for the visually impaired will be available from the inauguration committee site.

Unfortunately, when I read about the Meehans, my first thought was of Graeme Frost, the 12-year old who was on the Democrat’s radio speech.  For sticking his head out on behalf of children’s health insurance, he and his family were virtually threatened by vicious demagogues commentators like Michelle Malkin.

It only took a moment for the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, Boston Globe Battalion to open up on Kirsten Meehan.   Here’s a hint for them:  a 41-year old woman who can’t walk for more than 10 feet isn’t going to get or keep a “McDonald’s job”.

The Frost experience has convinced me never to stick my head out for any political party.  I wonder how the Meehans will do after the ceremonies.  In a conservative state like New Hampshire, I’m surprised any liberal there would stick their heads out.

The mood in Massachusetts itself (let alone NH) is so ugly that I’ll never get involved in a political campaign.  Not one that would encourage abuse of a 12-year old, or a disabled housewife.

No comments: