Happy 20 Years for Americans with Disabilities

A long time ago, I came to the conclusion that the 1st President Bush was a doofus.  However, there is one thing which I’m grateful for.  It’s the fact that he signed into law, The Americans with Disabilities Act.  Before the law went into effect, Americans with disabilities were left wide open to discrimination, and endless obstacles to their daily life activities.  I’ll give two examples, of this, based on my own life experience (involving my mom) of how things were prior to this law being enacted.  Back in the 80’s, I made a dentist appointment for my mother.  I scheduled with the same dentist that I had visited all through childhood.  When I got to the clinic parking lot, I realized that there was no wheelchair ramp.  It took me a good half-an-hour to ‘walk’ my mom into the dental lobby.  When my childhood dentist came out to greet my mom, I felt an air of coldness emanating from him.  He made a big fuss about examining the mouth of a head-injured person, and he had no problem making his distaste quite known.  He was so callous with my mother that she started crying.  And, it’s a damned shame that I wasn’t old enough, or confident enough, to rip the guy a new one.  I was still a youngster.  But, if he had done the same thing, today, I would’ve been on the phone with an attorney.  Because, in this day and age, it is a discriminatory act.  The second example of why the law is a good thing is not nearly as dramatic as the above cited recollection.  It has more to do with shopping.  Whenever I’d take my mom out to the mall, 9 times out of 10, I’d have to leave her at the entrance of the store.  Because the aisles were narrowly lined with clothes racks.  No wheel chair would fit through them.  Believe me, I tried.  But, clothes would always get caught in the wheel spokes of her chair.  Since the law came into place, I no longer have an issue pushing a wheelchair through a store.  Aisles are wide and ramps are everywhere, and that’s a good thing.  Anyhow, I’m so glad that The Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect 20 years ago.  I’m truly looking forward to seeing how much more progress will be made when looking back in another 20 years.

“I know there may have been concerns that the ADA may be too vague or too costly, or may lead endlessly to litigation.  But I want to reassure you right now that my administration and the United States Congress have carefully crafted this Act.  We’ve all been determined to ensure that it gives flexibility, particularly in terms of the timetable of implementation; and we’ve been committed to containing the costs that may be incurred…. Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

George H.W. Bush


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