It’s often said that able-bodied people are just a slip, trip or fall away from becoming disabled. In fact, in many circles bipeds are called “temporarily able-bodied people” or TABS. In short, disability doesn’t discriminate — it can happen to anyone at any time.
That fact was proven this morning as outgoing vice president Dick Cheney attended the inauguration in a wheelchair. According to reports he pulled a muscle in his back while moving some boxes at his new home. The damage isn’t permanent, and Mr. Cheney is only suppose to be in a wheelchair for a few days. But he didn’t have the best timing.
This sudden turn of events is somewhat ironic, as this inauguration was lauded by many disability advocates as being inaccessible to the elderly and disabled. Now of course they made special accommodations for the former vice president, however the average rank-and-file wheelchair-user had to jump through some hoops to attend the event. Add record crowds and cold weather to the mix, and I’m sure it wasn’t an easy task.
So on this first day of a new administration, perhaps this should serve as a wake up call. Anybody can become disabled at any point in time; so making events, transportation, tourist attractions and public venues wheelchair-accessible benefits everyone. Maybe even you at some point in the future. It just makes sense.
On a semi-related note, the project to add curb-cuts to my street finally started yesterday. That’s something I’ve been lobbying for since 2002. Another sign of progress, and movement in a positive direction.
Change is in the air!