Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What should Deaf people be concerned about in this election?

Last night, while watching the debates, I began thinking: what's a Deaf view on this election? And again, as you know, I'm using the broadest possible definition of Deaf - it includes all of us! Issues that strike me instantly: healthcare, access, civil rights and worker's rights.

Right now we have two (maybe three) competing health care programs on offer. One is Obama's Affordable Care Act, which I've personally seen benefit many, many Deaf people. People who couldn't get treatment before now can. The second is Romney's health plan, and the third is Ryan's health plan. Romney's plan is pretty much Obama's plan; Ryan's plan, I think, is the scary one for the Deaf community. I'm imagining Deaf people struggling to make calls and contact people and convince them to accept vouchers. I'm imagining us getting denied on the basis of being Deaf (hey, if having headaches can be a pre-existing condition, what's having hearing aids?)

Who'd be better for guaranteeing us access? We've  been fighting for it under Obama, and we've made some strides, especially the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.

I haven't been able to find remarks from Romney about his support or lack of support for this act. My concern with Romney and access is that he has ties to a lot of big businesses, and wants to ease restrictions and requirements for those businesses. This usually means passing on the cost to the consumer: in this case, us.

Worker's rights are another big battle. Obama's been so-so with unions, but Romney has been actively trying to limit the power and ability of Unions, and his party has tried to get rid of Union contracts. In my experience, and this is personal, it's Unions and Union contracts that often help Deaf workers when they're fighting for accessibility and equity in the workplace.

So what should Deaf people be thinking about during this election? Thoughts?

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