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.#

 

 

New York Running Insult Tally

Click on URL below since the New York Times keeps adding to who President Donald J. Trump, our 45th, insults. Plenty of stories to tell with this material, hence Jim Phelan’s reference to Narratives as well as the ole’ machine folk is like me started using when we were in.

Stories We Told mode. (Check out https://ruthobrien.org/2020/10/05/stories-we-tell-part-2/ ). I’ve been insulted for writing since I was 12 years old. The first insulter-in-power was my Principal Morrisey who ran Thompson Junior High School in Bakersfield CA. He told me to knock off writing letters that the Bakersfield Californian published. I ignored him and wrote at least one more to show him I would not be cowed.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/28/upshot/donald-trump-twitter-insults.html

black vintage typewriter
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Twisted, Triangulated News is*

old city port with moored ships and historical houses
Photo by Spencer Davis on Pexels.com

Scary stuff in the news, not only Trump’s call to arms against #BLM and others, like #portlandprotest and #portlandmoms, or NPR’s Morning Edition announcing different states thinking that folks will voluntarily surrender their firearms, but what is happening in the proxy war between the Turks and the Armenians, with the Russians negotiating.

States’ rights are getting more important in the election as borders are going back to policies similar to what the U.S. Constitution replaced (read the Articles of Confederation), and given how all elections stem from zero-sum all-state politics (think states and land and how many votes per state when you visualize conflicts, like the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut tri-state area; also remember Pennsylvania and how the middle states were so divided — unlike New England or the former Confederate South, and remembering where Delaware was in this same confederacy).

It is no wonder I like living in my once-safe apartment on Roosevelt Island, where we are governed by three jurisdictions, including being completely accessible for folks like me and Steve Kuusisto.

As such an odd rock (read entity under what Frederic Schwarz used to call the 59th Street Bridge rather than the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge), we are part of Manhattan, but EMTs come from Queens, given that we are also New York State and New York City, and we have Cornell Tech, a very expansive private/public university that is part of Cornell University.
We also have no police, only “Public Safety,” a branch that when we moved here saw its chief forced to exit in disgrace after harming many PwDs (there were posters all over so I looked it up).

Getting my M.A., D.Phil., and Ph.D. at UCLA back when they had an active program on the Middle East and Rudolph P. Matthee’s dissertation sponsor was not only @BethBaron’s supervisor but the greatly talented Professor *Nikki Keddie https://www.gc.cuny.edu/…/History/Faculty-Bios/Beth-Baron, I was there during the Salmon Rushdie fatwa, inflaming the existing conflict at UCLA between faculty supporting the Turks and the Armenians, respectively, which was scary in a different way.

Then, in 1993, my very dear, dear friend was killed in a fatwa (the last one, Gary Sick explained, happened in Italy and was in fact the last one on European soil). I was spared hearing it on the news when Distinguished Professor Barbara Pfetsch and Cory Lieb accepted being my sons’ “earth parents.” https://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/…/bpfetsch/index.html (This was how I cemented the boys’ fluency not only in university-level Dutch but in German as well, given the summer camps they attended with their earth cousin Jonas).

I just told Frederic O’Brien that having been with a former partner who understood the Far East and the Middle East, and then having traveled extensively on my own — including hitchhiking everywhere — in the former East gives one-off sensibilities when you end up coming back to the UCLA Center for Social Theory and Comparative History to be convinced to leave political theory for American Politics, first by @StephenSkowronek at Yale University (I didn’t know of Rogers Smith’s work).

I took pride back in the 1980s in traveling extensively on my own, not just in the former Yugoslavia but in all the other countries I could manage to get into.

Back then, one ride from Hamburg (when they still called it West Germany) got you to Berlin. I took my GRE’s in the former American embassy, not in Zagreb, where I was studying with Gajo Petrovic (the only existentialist who was sought by both the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Martin Heidegger Archiv, which he accepted) and then added another twist that Intellectual Publics might know about by hitchhiking down to Dubrovnik, Croatia, not only to hopefully meet @Habermas but also to bump into those I already knew about, including Andrew Arato (I discovered Joel Rogers as well).

Not wanting to be associated with the American graduate students, I hung out with the German graduate students, creating a bond with Uwe Toellner as well as one American professor, who wrote Alienation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Schacht
I worked with this Dissent Magazine crowd — not New York but the ones who wrote Dissent in Serbo-Croatian and reprinted the likes of the International Herbert Marcuse Society — as well as channeling my book on Obama (Out of Many, One by Ruth O’Brien) through the likes of JohnDewey, Hannah-Arendt-Gymnasium, @ReinholdNiebuhr, Saul Alinsky, and W.E.B. DuBois — American iterations of the very Dutch Baruch Spinoza Study Group (not the traditional version of him by my former colleague’s notion of Baruch Spinoza but rather more the rendition that Alan Ryan would have supported, and heck, even the great academic StanleyFish liked).
https://academic.oup.com/…/article…/87/5/1435/127532…
How come there is no emoji for ambivalent? At least there is an activity called “watching.”

*Unlike posts, this one is derived from FaceBook’s Stories or “What’s on Your Mind” space that is similar to tweeting so it is full of URLs and most names were tags of those people (so you can look them up for yourself:) and sometimes I use foreign language spellings like the Heidegger Archiv. It is part of my seminars’ blogs series.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikki_Keddie

http://nikkikeddie.com/n-keddie/awards-and-honors-9