5. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
I cannot think of a better example of a Great Civilization, than one that DEMANDS that all public spaces accomodate those with blindness and wheelchairs. It is NOT that far in the past that someone was ‘A cripple’ a “gimp” and now it is ‘Disabled’ or ‘challenged’ This is far more than just demanding a door wide enough to accomodate a wheelchair in a theatre or a bus that can ‘kneel down’ to accomodate a person with decreased mobility.
The Americans with Disabilities Acti changed our cultural norms to include ALL people even those who will NOT play in sports or set physical records, as having their part in our civilization
You notice the country did not go bankrupt, yet at the time, MANY people said it would be ridiculously costly.
Now, you don’t even notice it. You can’t get a certificate of occupancy for a public building WITHOUT ADA accomodations.
Why is Ted Kennedy great? Because he helped, through legislation, change our societal norms to include the contributions of ALL members of our civilization.
We admire the ancient Greeks, and rightly so. Yet, they had a categorical disdain for those with physical weakness and deformity and over half the population was slaves.
Our culture is great because we look for the unique contributions of ALL our people, even those with physical or mental disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, showed us, that with little drama and minor cost, we can easily help the most vulnerable, and the entire society ascends.
Compassion in action is strength. An OPPORTUNITY for those with disabilities is NOT a handout, or even ‘Charity’. It is smart. In a great civilization, you provide the basics like healthcare and access for the most physically vulnerable.
The rest is up to them. Univeral health coverage and the ADA are NOT a hand OUT, they are a hand UP
More to follow, stay tuned over the weekend.