The Voice of the Disabled in 2008?

In A Sedentary View, Columns, Features by Gregory Banks

Even though our next Presidential election is more than a year away, we’re already hearing more and more about it every day.

Candidates are throwing their hats into the ring, and the political claws have come out in razor-sharp fashion as the Presidential hopefuls fight for position in a field full of middle-of-the-road contenders who are all just cannon fodder for the front runners sporting names like Clinton, Obama, Guiliani, and McCain.

Each entrant’s stance on the Iraq War will surely have the greatest impact on who becomes the next leader of the free world, with both a woman and a minority candidate in prime position to make history if they succeed in winning the crown to this political throne.

But where do the disabled stand during all of this? Where do we stand in the minds of these candidates? What role do we play in their campaigns?

Not only do I wonder if any of the issues that directly affects us is being considered, but I wonder if our votes are even being thought of as significant enough to seek out

? I have been voting for years, and it makes me feel good to think that my sole voice counts just as much as any other American’s.

Although personally I’ve never wanted to get involved in the political arena, I do want to know that the voice of the disabled will be heard in 2008. I’d like to believe that whoever wins the election understands and appreciates that the disabled community helped elect them, both at the polls and behind the scenes.

I want the next administration to acknowledge how, according to, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in at least 15,000 wounded and injured troops since 2001.

I also want them to address the fact that along with the increasing numbers of disabled vets, the number of soldiers approved for permanent disability retirement has plunged by more than two-thirds. Why are these vets giving life and limb for such a supposedly noble cause being cast aside like yesterday’s leftovers?

So who is looking out for the interests of the disabled? Which of these candidates, who spends most days giving lip service to only the issues the media cares about, is ready to step up to the plate and champion our causes? Who among the disabled community is ready to stand up and shout from the rooftops until our voices are heard?

Two thousand and eight is coming fast, and if we’re going to be heard by the powers that would be, we have to start yelling now.