Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cheney in a Wheelchair


The sight of now former Vice President Dick Cheney using a wheelchair during the Barack Obama inauguration inspired a babel of sometimes dismaying comments.

The ugliest perhaps came from MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews, who said "And I can tell you again that metaphor here of the Vice President in that wheelchair - it is a metaphor for the low esteem with which he's held in this country. His numbers are pathetically low."

Matthews' words are the typical characterization people with disabilities tend to expect from the glib chattering class, the sort of comment that confirms that too many who know too little and think too boorishly have too much influence.

We remain at a point in human evolution where the word disability almost automatically implies negativity. I'm old enough to remember when the same issue was discussed in reference to the word "black." Would that I live long enough that the use of a wheelchair, temporary or permanent, is worth only a casual mention.
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