#61, connect voting rights, disability and the market place of services

March 25, 2017

This #100hardtruths was shared with me by my friend, and the new media theorist and practitioner, Anne Balsamo:

“Two people, both citizens, one votes, the other can’t, but is more significantly impacted by the outcome of the 2016 election.

I vote for my sister Laura who is a 54 year old woman with an IQ of 40, which puts her at the level of a pre-kindergarten child. She is a natural born citizen of the United States who has been 100% disabled from the day of birth. She lives in a group home with six other intellectually disabled women in a suburb of Chicago. She works by helping deliver Meals on Wheels. She makes $20.00 per month, which she spends on movies, clothes, radios, and dolls. From the age of 25 she has been supported by Social Security and Medicaid. Two years ago she had heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect. Medicaid paid for the entire procedure. She has no other insurance options. A private insurer, we were told, would NOT have paid for the operation because of her intellectual disability. This is the hard truth that my family has always known: the market place of services (health, education, etc) does not value Laura’s life. She has never been, nor ever will be productive according to their templates. In that market place, the value of her life is literally zero. Laura is alive because of federal social care programs. Laura matters because she is our family. I pay taxes to fund the services she and others like her need to stay alive. I vote her interest, because she cannot.”

Read More: Ripped from the Headlines (March 22, 2017)

People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have the same basic legal, civil and human rights as other citizens. They may need accommodation, protection and support to enable them to exercise these rights. Their rights should never be limited or restricted without due process.


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