Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Guess I've Been Holding My Breath...

This morning, Nora Ephron's post at Huffington Post really resonated with me: Exhale.

I had a busy summer, which included a total hip replacement of my left hip (one down, one to go), but have been well enough to write for months. I had become obsessed with the presidential election, watching unhealthy amounts of MSNBC (I think it is overboard when you watch the same episode of Countdown or Rachel Maddow more than once...)

This election season could exemplify, I think, a large portion of my life, in that I became afraid to be too optimistic, too hopeful, that Obama would be elected. I have been (as have we all, I'm sure) disappointed by the behavior/decisions of others so many times. It feels like a personal risk to put aside my native cynicism and actually hope for and want something.

ADA Watch emailed me this excerpt from Obama's acceptance speech:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled [my emphasis]. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
President-Elect Barack Obama, November 4, 2008

I teared-up when he mentioned the disabled (and no, I don't care that he didn't say "people with disabilities -- in this framework, "disabled" is just fine). Not because I'm naive enough to think that someone else may easily have told him to put it in the speech, but just because it was there, as a symbol that we are to be included at his table.

So -- I am still cautiously hopeful for what Obama can accomplish. He is inheriting a boat-load of problems that will have to be addressed before he can do much about health care. I am heartened by the fact that he considers health care a "right", however.

His pre-election white paper on disability issues (BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN’S PLAN TO EMPOWER AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES) addressed the fact that insurance (both private and governmental) has evolved to a point where it will only provide the minimum durable medical equipment (to enable you to get around "inside the home") to cut costs. (See page 7 on the Medicare "homebound" rule.)

I'm heartened by the idea that he is a thoughtful, reportedly "cautious" man. Unlike Bush, I don't think Obama will be unable to admit mistakes or missteps and accordingly change course as appropriate.

Time will tell. Join me in daring to be hopeful.


Becs said...

Glad to see you back :)

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

I teared up too -- not at that moment (I think I was too stunned), but later on.

I wanted to get in contact with you to see if you might be willing to copy/paste the following item from my blog into yours? I'm trying to encourage more people with disabilities, our loved ones, colleagues, and other allies to write emails to Obama to further increase the visibility of disability issues among his staff. Letters are wanted not only from across the United States but also from around the world. The following Call to Action explains more about how and why: