National Disability Leadership Alliance

The Eighth Republican Presidential Debate

Andrew PBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Disability & Politics

"We need to help the drug addicted, the working poor and the developmentally disabled" -- John Kasich

With our desire to hear disability issues discussed in Presidential debates so high, and our expectations for actually hearing them so low, it’s easy to get over-excited at the smallest mention of disability. I think that’s why I feel so weirdly invested in the candidacy of John Kasich right now.

Reading Between the Lines: Republican Debate Eight

Emily MunsonBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Disability & Politics

Saturday night's Republican debate was full of disability, but perhaps not in the way one might expect. First, Ben Carson and Donald Trump couldn't hear their names being announced, and waited behind the curtain as other candidates took their podiums. Next, the moderators had temporary memory loss, forgetting to announce John Kasich at all. Finally, it was suggested that Ted Cruz suffers from a peculiar cardiac anomaly – no heart. Unfortunately, aside from Kasich, neither the candidates nor the moderators actually engaged in discussions of particular interest to the disability community. That's not to say, however, that the debate was of no consequence to people with disabilities.

Bad Conflict, Good Conflict: The Fifth Democratic Presidential Debate

Andrew PBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Disability & Politics

Have you ever been involved in an argument … among friends, with coworkers, maybe in a meeting … and realized you could actually hear and see the moment that a productive exchange of ideas turned personal?

Have you ever heard someone defend themselves or their ideas by reminding everyone of how hard they’ve worked in the past and how dedicated they are to the cause?

Diffuse Disability, Democrats!

Emily MunsonBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Disability & Politics

With Martin O'Malley out of the race, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were free to focus on one another at Thursday's University of New Hampshire debate. Moderators Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd largely refrained from interfering in the dialogue that followed, watching with the viewers as Clinton and Sanders worked to best the other. Although the debate was fiery, it is unlikely that much interest was sparked within the disability community.

Letter to President Obama from NDLA

Dear President Obama,

National Disability Leadership Alliance is extremely concerned about and offended by your rhetoric regarding people with disabilities and how we relate to gun violence during your January 5th speech.  Bringing mental illness and psychiatric disabilities into a conversation about gun violence and mass shootings only serves to further dangerous, ableist myths that individuals with disabilities are responsible for such violence. This is simply not the case. Just because an action is unthinkable, that does not mean that it is a result of disability.

After referring to perpetrators of gun violence as “violent and dangerous people,” “violent criminals,” and “evil,” you then listed investing money into mental health programs as a step to prevent future gun violence. As a result, you led your worldwide audience to conclude that individuals with mental health or psychiatric disabilities are violent, dangerous, evil criminals. But just as you stated that in America “We are not inherently more prone to violence,” the same is true for people with disabilities. We are not inherently more prone to gun violence, and to insinuate that we are only perpetuates ableist stereotypes.

While you stated that you want to “continue to de-stigmatize mental health issues,” your plan only serves to further stigmatize us as dangerous perpetrators of gun violence, despite considerable scientific evidence that finds no link between mental health and violence.

Furthermore, Whitehouse.gov states that “[t]he Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing a rule to remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing States from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.” What your Administration refers to as “unnecessary legal barriers,” is actually our fundamental right to privacy. We are citizens of this country and entitled to the same rights as all other citizens. Your plan to invade the health records of individuals with disabilities is simply a violation of our rights.

Lastly, using records from the Social Security Administration to deem individuals with representative payees as incompetent to assert their rights is a far stretch and sets a dangerous precedent. Needing assistance in handing finances is not an indication that an individual is violent or dangerous. Taking away this Constitutional right from individuals with representative payees may help to pave the way to take away other rights, including our rights to marry, raise our children, and vote.

We call upon you to change your rhetoric on gun violence and people with disabilities, find real solutions to gun violence that do not use the Disability Community as a scapegoat, and apologize to the Disability Community for spreading these dangerous stereotypes about our people.

Sincerely,

National Disability Leadership Alliance
National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
National Council on Independent Living
ADAPT
Little People of America
National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities
National Association of the Deaf
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living 
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
United Spinal Association
Not Dead Yet

A Real Disability Issue, But is Anyone Listening?

Andrew PBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Disability & Politics

Let’s take a moment and give due credit to John Kasich.

Unless something very weird happens in the next several months, he’s not going to be the next President of the United States. But Governor Kasich is the only candidate of either party so far in this cycle to bring up a bona fide, not accidental, not quippy-insulting disability issue in a televised debate. He’s done it twice now.

Kasich: The Unlikely Hero of Debate Seven

Emily MunsonBy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Disability & Politics

Thursday night's debate, presented by Fox News and Google, gave Republican candidates their last opportunity to face off before the Iowa Caucuses. Both the main-stage moderators and debaters – Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rand Paul – began with jokes about the biggest “elephant not in the room”: Donald Trump. Yet his silence permitted viewers to listen to the nuanced differences of opinion among the other candidates. This debate was not about who could drop the biggest bomb, whether from his arsenal or from his lips, but about who could best position Americans to thrive.

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