From COVID-19 to COVID-21: We are all Persons with Disabilities Now

We left New York City after the Presidential Election of 2020. It was so odd that we had to hear President Elect Joe Biden’s not quite acceptance speech in a foreign city at a foreign time after traveling out of JFK. The whole plane clapped when we arrived. Fred and I were too tired to process until the next day — no not Wednesday — the day after the Tuesday of the election — but Sunday going into the next week.

Of course we bumbled with the not one but two large screen TVs. We are both hopeless when it comes to turning them on in a hotel room or wherever, so we opt for our own roving technology.

Now we’re leaving and taking not one but two days to get to a place that everyone else — people without disabilities — would drive in one day. I used to travel from Bakersfield to Weedpatch to UCLA or Claremont then Men’s College in one day. Of course I didn’t drive like a little ole lady with multiple disabilities. (Fred didn’t drive for 28 odd years so he’s only the east coast LI freeway or tollway driver).

COVID-19 is now almost COVID-21. And what’s my takeaway:
We are all people with disabilities. We are all “Bodies in Revolt”. And we are all searching for what our “essential functions” are.

Essential functions (can you be an MD online? Yes but…)
Accommodations (remote or not, then essential or not)

I hope as we move toward the light in COVID-21 after darkness descended over all those essential and non-essential workers (i.e. remote workers who have salaries like me) that we can understand what happened.

The U.S. is 4% of the world’s population and 19% of its deaths. New York City was an epicenter, now it’s Los Angeles CA. What a horrible statistic.

There are 3 ways to look at it:
1. We deserved it since we all participate and live in the political system that created President Donald J Trump. Sure, the GOP is way way way more responsible but . . .
2. We should be shamed for having so much wealth, being so awful to our essential workers putting them on the frontline without giving them proper life (i.e. salary, healthcare, education, higher education . . .
3. This shame or gotta blame situation in the corrupt system of American politics could change. But only if we do “Bodies in Revolt.”

Being a one stone, 2 birds person (short for one stone kills two birds), I always opt for option 3.
Then, again, being a person with a disability that has morphed into disabilities since I was 33 years old, I depend on others to do my revolution. I’ve got two sons who can help me adopt “Bodies in Revolt”. My oldest keeps telling me I should but I can’t.

In any case, we — Americans — are all people with disabilities now — deciding our having decided for us if we are “essential” or not. The perversity is that those remote with salaries have the best accommodations, whereas those who are essential and on the front line have the worst situations — from doctors to take-out restaurant workers.

Sadly, this is NOT new. Crippled Justice — my history book shows that as does Voices from the Edge. It is only my third book on the Americans with Disabilities Act (now ADAAA) that offers me help and hope that one of my sons spilled beer on. He was taking so long to read it, that the beer got spilt and rather than getting mad, I saved it as one of my best memories.#



Laughing helps the diaphragm too

I can’t sing like Carol Nackenoff (terrific APD scholar) — though, being a PwD (Person with a Disability) since 1993, and one who has been “self-identifying**” and no longer plays the oboe (and certainly not on our rooftop terrace, though that’s where I hope to develop my diaphragm some day), Pilates and breathing — this is my singing.

Before I had the strength to do this, I tried to start every day with a laugh.  Well, a former SUNY Geneseo professor in speech pathology, specializing in cognitive and linguistic psychology, helps keep the “sisterhood” in laughs that help me exercise my lungs — one of the exercises many can do who live in Manhattan apartments.  Thanks, Joanie!

Given her speciality, I plan on deferring to her “laugh judgment” — for getting at least one of the many gut-wrenching laughs I need for my diaphragm exercise each day. Plus, it has the added bonus of preparing students who will be taking my class on the American Presidency — and will have to face the masculinity of the “Commander-in-Chief” (see below).

After you read below, remember you are only imagining a she/he/they as the last exercise.  After all, we will have reviewed all the ways American Presidents have rarely treated anyone other than SLAMs and SCAMs (straight liberal Anglo-American men and straight conservative Anglo American men) fairly.  Put differently, this is to say, many people who do not or are not SLAMs and SCAMs.  (The “identify” part is there, you guessed it, since many white, straight, radical, liberal, moderate, or conservative men do not subscribe to the patriarchy.  Similarly, many women do (more white women, to be sure). Plus, as my mother always said, women keep women from the dinner table where the straight white men of all political stripes are. Though if you watch Mrs. America, they do do lunch.

American Presidency Page (soon)

* I like the explanation after the acronym, many of my colleagues, friends and family will tell you.  This gives you creative license and people listen more to this than to the really terrible “disabled” person, and I’m bored with the debate about saying “a person with a disability” (as if any one person has only one identity 🙂 )

Carol Nackenoff Singing

At minute 37:33 a ballet dancer appears in Swarthmore’s Sunday Services.  Carol’s voice is low for soprano.  The whole service was pulled together virtually by they music director.  This is inspiring.
In these trying time, singing, as Carol, does not only strengths her lungs giving them the plasticity or strength to fight off the COVID-19.  Whats more you can put a beautiful vision to the music to inspire us all.