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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why I Can't Get Out & Rock My Vote Today--and Am Not Singular in This

Today is the big 20+ state primary election in the US. I live and am registered in one of those states. And though my politics run way off the leftist end of the US political spectrum, and very few politicians stand up for every life, I vote in every election possible. I've delved too much into the lives and work of the suffragists, who knew that they might not be on this Earth long enough to achieve their own right to vote, but knew they had to win it for the women of the future. Like you and me. They did not know our names or faces, we had yet to be conceived, but they were quite consciously looking out for us.

And I live among black folk who not only remember the civil rights movement--they *were* it. And are. I am moved to the polls by the faces of these living and the spirits of those who labored before, especially one of my alltime heroes, the late great Fannie Lou up-from-the Delta Hamer--a prolife feminist, incidentally. (Her story and words are in ProLife Feminism Yesterday and Today too.) Mrs. Hamer got beaten in prison for trying to get everyone their voting rights. She got death threats. Her house was shot at and firebombed.

How can I *not* vote after people like this labored so hard to make sure all US Americans can vote?

Well, today I am not voting. I want to, but I can't. Like a number of other US Americans, I have disabilities that today prevent me from going to the polls. Most of the time, whatever else they do, my particular disabilities do not keep me, personally, from doing that. But a cavalcade of medical crises have knocked me out and stranded me in our top-floor walkup, without a chance to vote early or absentee. For some people with disabilities, every election day is inaccessible.

Just as the gains of the civil rights movement were necessary but haven't yet undone racism and white privilege, the Americans With Disabilities Act has left us crips a bit short of the ramp-equipped, Braille-captioned, allergen-free, medicalized killing-free et al Promised Land. Brian Willoughby's 2004 article Unable to Vote: Fighting for Accessibility remains pertinent.

In the meantime, if anyone has a big forklift handy and wants to fetch me down from the third floor and take me on a joyride down the block to the polling place at the gospel-rockin' MB Church...feel free...

1 comment:

Mother Laura said...

How terrible, Marysia. I had no idea of the obstacles to the right to vote still placed in the way of people with disabilities.