Thursday, November 8, 2012


I didn't want to comment on American politics anymore. I'm a resident alien- it doesn't matter what I think anyway . But then, somebody called me a psycho on my Facebook wall, others threw a couple of F-bombs around and I discovered how easy it is to make a Friend into a former friend at the touch of a button. I realized that I'm allowed to have a different opinion, that you can rest assured, I'm not unreasonable to hold views without  them being justified in personal experiences. What matters to me and to what extent may differ from your experience.  Yet, people were telling me what to think, how to feel, got offended if I disagreed and didn't care to explain, got offended even more if I did. But I realized one thing- if you live half way across the world from me chances are you will never know me and if you're so bothered that you can't convince me that you need to resort to profanity, you were never my friend to begin with. I don't need to live up to anybody's standards but my own. What we feel and how we feel it is our own. And I only need to be true to myself. What inspired me to bring up elections again was not not simply the fact that it's finally over, but that text I saw in the Huffington Post that became incredibly popular on Facebook. Dealing with gay issues, it demanded: If you're voting for Romney, unfriend me. What a silly proposition, I thought. There are many reasons to support or detest a candidate, all personal, all equally valid, many of which have nothing to do with gay marriage or abortion. What matters to you may be not as important to others, because as people we all have our own issues we face. I could easily say "If you care about wheelchair accessibility and me you would never vote Obama". But such emotional blackmail is not only unfair and unreasonable, it's immature. The fact is, that with two issues I care about the most, disability rights and alien regulation the administration record was anything but impressive. It caused quite a stir when the Department of Justice delayed the implementation of the requirements for accessible pools, given that the new Standards for Accessible Design were announced in 2010. The government wanted to make it easy on the private sector;  The other is a funny story: I was asked to do a presentation on the new Amendments to the ADA. Try as I may I couldn't find anything that fresh. It soon became apparent, that they were talking about a recent set of guidelines put in place in compliance with ... a 2008 Amendments Act. It took four years to figure out the new procedures, documentation and standards. Every year that a thing like that is delayed it means that I or someone just like me can't get somewhere, use a facility or take an exam in a fair manner. When I tell my friends, they don't believe me. How could this be? They were told that Obama administration is the most inclusive and the most progressive. Some smelled a conspiracy or some evil doing by George Bush. But Bush had nothing to do with it, it's been many years since he left office and his father signed ADA into law in the first place. See, unlike taxes or healthcare, wheelchair accessibility or lack of it is not a matter of perspective or a positive attitude. It's a choice between excluding and including people. A lot of parents of kids with disabilities supported Barack Obama for his social programs, healthcare and financial support. Sadly, as kids grow they will want to be more independent and this will not happen without making the world around them accessible to them. They will want to take a test in a setting that downplays the effect of their condition. maybe they'll go to law school and face the dreaded LSAT.The LSAT. Standardized testing... The recent suits that the DOJ intervened in by producing more discrimination examples show that they have been sitting on all this data, yet, they didn't initiate any suits in recent memory. At least prior to 2006 the LSAT administration was put on probation for failing to accommodate.  Now, 6 years after my own struggles with the test, I keep hearing stories similar to mine! Let me be clear. It is the administration that should be leading the pack and revisting their prior measures.

 How can you not support Obama- a friend asked- he wants to give you a free healthcare. What is this notion that just because I'm in a wheelchair I want free services from the government. That I'm poor, homeless or on Medicare. I chose a career that would allow me to pay for my own and not rely on others. If four more years mean more of the same then we are in trouble. Wheelchair accessibility can't wait anymore. I don't want anything from the government, but to be able to get into buildings and .. pools. The Obama deportation statistics were scary, but so is the apparent new level of hardship and formalities legal international students now face.

In this election I have softly supported Mitt Romney. Mostly in hopes he could do better. Some of his social stands are foreign to me, but one thing I've learnt as a lawyer is letting go of strong convictions. As I'm not a woman I don't have views on abortion. I just know what the law says. I'm not a big supporter of marriage of any kind in general. While I do believe that people should be able to enter any union between consenting adults  they desire with the least state intrusion I also think the government should stop favoring married couples. I do believe in Republican principles in economy. And I'll say one thing: If I can come to America from Poland, push harder every day with nothing but myself and the support my family to go on I believe many more people can and should try harder and do better in this countty

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