Today is election day in Canada and I find myself in the throes of despair. The party I voted for will not win the election, but that isn't the cause of my upset. I voted so I get to complain about the party that does win ... and that's OK with me. What's bothering me, really, really bothering me, is that over the course of the election I began to think, maybe even fantasize about the growing strength of the 'disability vote' over the next several years. As boomers age, well, ageing will do what aging does. Even over the last three years I've noticed an increase in walkers, canes, scooters and wheelchairs. I pictured, with a somewhat evil smile, politicians waking up to the realization that those age spotted hands which grip wheels, which hold on to walkers, which steer scooters also are very likely to use a pen to mark an X on a ballot.
'Ah,' thought I, in the way that I think when I write about how I think, 'the politicians and political parties are going to come a-courting.'
However, it seems that there is a fly in the ointment. Turns out that masses of boomers are simply never going to be disabled. Even when they sit their ass in a wheelchair, or rest their buttocks on a walkers seat, they don't need accessibility as disabled citizens - NO - heaven forfend! They need age friendly environments. They have no intention of addressing issues from a DISABILITY perspective. God, no, they don't have a disability or need of accessibility. They are seniors who need age friendly environments. Great.
Here these old gaffers and gaffettes are going to be getting by using curb cuts that DISABILITY ACTIVISTS got for them; ramps that DISABILITY ACTIVISTS fought for; transportation that DISABILITY ACTIVISTS continue to fight for. And these things now are about being 'age-friendly'. I guess these folks expect friendliness because they are valued seniors not scum sucking, benefit slurping, disabled people. So there goes any hope of a disability voting block.
Somehow I felt so insulted at the need to change language simply so people who are disabled and have disabilities don't have to acknowledge that we share membership in the same club. What is so freaking wrong about having a disability? Why is that identity so very difficult for people to swallow? This is MY identity. This is MY community. I am proud of what my community has done and what my community continues to stand, er, sit for.
You know what, I'm tired just from writing this. I'm going to make my day 'age friendly' and take a nap.
Gott helfen Lars.
(and if you recognize that quote you probably need to live in an age friendly environment)