I’ve seen a mix of opinions on the death of George H.W. Bush. Some have been positive, and some have been overwhelmingly negative. There’s nothing like the death of an individual that brings back all the ugly things they did in their lives. I’ve seen a barge of all the negative aspects of his presidency from both the left and the right. Look, no one is perfect by any means. I don’t agree with a lot of his politics, or many of the things that went down in his presidency. There is one thing I can thank him for that sadly hasn’t been covered much in the media, but is still a rather important piece of history.
Outside of my line of work, very few people talk about the ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act. For those who have been out of the loop for the last 28 years, the ADA is a bill that prevents business and other organizations from discriminating on the grounds of a disability. It also requires businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities. This can be as straightforward as an elevator or wheelchair ramp in an establishment. It can include menus with larger print or audio tours in museums for those with visual impairments. Even descriptive audio tracks in movies for those with visual impairments. This also includes sign language interpreters at events and even concerts. There’s a history behind this all that I will try to mention as briefly as possible.
Sometime towards the end of the Civil Rights movement, there was another battle going on. People with disabilities in this country were treated like less than human. People with disabilities were often stuffed into hospitals, because the idea was that this was an able person’s world. You either had to adapt to society or not be a part of it at all. A few notable activists eventually led a movement that would cause the country to rethink disabilities and how we approached them as a society.
The earliest form of the ADA was drafted towards the end of the 1970s. It would unfortunately face a lot of congressional grid lock before it was revisited in the Bush era. Bush eventually signed a revised version of the bill into law on July 26th 1990.
I’m not saying let’s completely sweep the foul parts of his presidency under the rug. Again I don’t agree with a lot of his politics, but if there’s one thing I can thank him for as someone with a learning disability, it’s making access to needed accommodations a right for EVERYONE with a disability, and not the privileged few.
Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.