Thursday, May 01, 2008

More info on that protest

I leared a bit more about those ADAPT protestors from my last post in articles in today's and yesterday's Roll Call.

Medicare pays for a number of benefits (pills, handicap equipment, etc.) for seniors in nursing homes but not for folks still at home, thus freezing out folks sick enough to need help but not sick enough to surrender their freedom. ADAPT's main goal right now is passing the Community Choice Act, which would extend those Medicare benefits to people in their own homes. Obama and Clinton are co-sponsors, and the group would like McCain to sign on as well.

So far so good. It turns out that earlier in the day, the group, many of them disabled themselves, staged a sit-in at John McCain's office in the Russell Senate Office Building. A number were arrested for blocking the halls outside his office with their wheelchairs, a few more for refusing to leave Russell when the building closed, and more still (at least 40 in all) at the RNC (which I had mistakenly identified yesterday as the Capitol Hill Club). The RNC sit-in was particularly sour - the Republicans would not allow the protestors to order food from the outside or use the bathroom. The solution? Go on the floor, according to the group's own spokesman. Now I can't blame them for that, I suppose, since the RNC was not allowing to them use the restroom (that's beyond low), but it's still pretty darn gross. I am also told by a friend who works in the Cannon House building that the protestors were spitting on people.

I'm sympathetic to the group's aims. The Community Choice Act sounds like a pretty good idea - but barring people from leaving their office ("Just like a nursing home, you cant get out!") strikes me as a mild form of kidnapping. Stopping business for half a day and going on the floor is not the way to get someone to see things your way. Sit-ins were a good idea for the Civil Rights Movement when they were in the heart of the belly of the beast, and were a novel idea, but Tuesday's were just silly. And spitting on people? That's not civil disobedience, it's just wrong. Good goals, useless methods.

I stand by yesterday's post, however, that the lady across the street from the main protest was darn smart by asking if I wanted to know what they were protesting rather than asking me for their support.

By the way, here's a video from the sit-in. Capitol Police took down a woman who did not follow their orders. Seems reasonable, except for one little thing: the woman didn't hear the orders. Her disability? She's deaf. I'll give the cops credit, though; it looks like once they realized she was deaf, they backed off. Being able to keep your cool in situations like that is impressive.



Update: Commenter Susan has added the following information: "Amber was the Deaf protester and was my roommate at the action. The cops did not back off until one of their own who was not directly involved observed what was happening and took it under his control. To say that the officers responded quickly when they understood she was Deaf is a vast understatement. She was telling them as were several people in her vicinity." My hat remains tipped to the officer who stepped in, that doesn't always happen. My thanks to Susan for letting us know. She has more in the comment section.

3 comments:

Susan said...

Amber was the Deaf protester and was my roommate at the action. The cops did not back off until one of their own who was not directly involved observed what was happening and took it under his control. To say that the officers responded quickly when they understood she was Deaf is a vast understatement. She was telling them as were several people in her vicinity.

If you do not think disability issues are as critical as civil rights issues were when they staged their protests in the 60s - just talk to a young person in their 20s who is forced to live in a nursing home because that is the only way they can get Medicaid to provide care they require to survive.

This administration prefers to pay the higher costs of nursing home care that people do not want or need than to provide in home supports. A true economic stimulus package would be to get people out of nursing homes and live in their own homes where they spend their money on what they need in the way they want.

Nathan Empsall said...

Susan, there were far, far more victims of Jim Crow than there are 20 year olds in nursing homes. To compare the ills of Medicare to the fire hoses and dogs of Bull Connor and the crosses and nooses of the KKK is beyond ridiculous. That is not to say, however, that the Community Choice Act is not an important piece of legislation, and I wish you, Amber, and your associates good luck.

Jordan said...

I still say it's completely inexcusable to take a shat in the hall. I mean, with all due respect, shouldn't half those people there be wearing "depends" anyway?

I understand their right to protest, but peaceably protest is the key in the bill of rights; and once you're fouling up the room with your own fecal matter I don't consider that peaceful.