Advocating for the disabled is nothing new for me. That's right I'm the Bruce who you have been reading about. I have been advocating now for 46 years or since that fateful day on Janurary 10, 1955. I have been advocating for a type of change that will benefit all disabled people. However, before the American's with Disability Act no one would listen. Instead they just shrugged me off as a constant complainer. Since its passage, I have been able to become a more efficient advocate for people with disabilities on the state level, the National level.
Today, even with ADA under attack, enlightened people listen because they realize that what I advocate will be good for the disabled as well as for all our citizens. Even people form other countries have contacted me and told me to hang in their and fight for the rights of the disabled. So you could say that my ideas have an international appeal. I attribute this to my writings in Suite 101 http://www.suite101.com/ my site is in the social sciences under disabilities/ disability advocacy.
What have I done on the state level? I have tried to get our civil service system opened up to all our disabled citizens instead of just a select few. I went to a state senator and asked him to sponsor legislation that would place all my sates disabled on an equal footing. I asked him to have wording changed on the civil service exam to read, "All disabled citizens shall receive preferential treatment". Preferential Treatment was already in the civil service exam but only applied to the disabled military. It meant that extra points would be added to your score if you showed proficiency. It did not mean that employment would be given to you so it should not have been considered to be Affirmative Action. However to my dismay I learned that the senator who I asked to sponsor this legislation considered preferential treatment to mean Affirmative Action so the legislation died for lack of interest.
How can helping a qualified person with a disability be equated with affirmative action? To give the disabled a job, one for which he may not be qualified, is irresponsible. The disabled. Do not want Jobs simply because they are disabled. They want Jobs because they are qualified.
Because of my advocacy efforts, a former governor recognized me as a person who is actively trying to make life better for the disabled of his state and his nation. This same Governor all made me a gubernatorial appointee to a state agency created to meet the needs of the head and spinal cord injured. In the year 2000, I was also inducted into Whose Who in Business under the heading of Social Service.
On the National level, I have received official invitations to two Presidential inaugurations. These came because of a speech that I sent a Presidential hopeful. Ever since I have been in communication with leaders in Washington .My speeches are also in possession of a former president of the Brain Injury Association and I have been informed that my ideas have been used to try to change public perception on disability. Many of my National Representatives also have them. All have indicated that what is being called for is a needed change in the status quo. If this is so then why has nothing been done to change it? Maybe it is because they have become too comfortable with this stagnant status quo. Maybe to change it would hurt those sacred white election cows that contribute to their election chests. Maybe what's being advocated is looked upon as being too Liberal?
If changing discriminatory laws is liberal then I guess I am a dreaded liberal. I feel that any law or regulations must be changed if it acts as an artificial barrier to employment. No law can function to deny anyone those rights that are feely given to others with no infirmities.
If the disabled are to regain their place in society then there must be a change in the way people perceive disability. It must be perceived not as an inability but rather as an undiscovered ability.
When this change comes to fruition then and only then will disabilities pail into insignificance. When this change comes then and only then will all remnants of discrimination be removed. When this perception becomes reality then and only then will all disabilities be granted Equal Employment Consideration.
To reach this desired end all laws that erect artificial barriers to employment must be eliminated. When all counterfeit barriers to employment are eliminated then society will discover that she has made the disabled into taxpayers. This is the final goal that I hope to institute or at least lay the groundwork for its eventual inevitability