What Nobody Should Necessarily Have to Tell Their Children

Dear readers,

When I was little and wanted to dream big, there were two things that bothered me. I wanted to be everything but a musician, although I have the best outlook life can give me when I sing or play, and I wanted to contribute to the public. There’s one thing a little kid doesn’t need to tell their parent figures, “Mommy, I want to be an activist.” I’ll tell you why.

There are countries where activism is illegal, countries like Burundi, Hong Kong, and China. Places like that are not safe for disabled activists, but here in America, activism looks brighter. I would have probably been an officer of the law if I were sighted, carrying a badge that meant protect and serve. However, blindness became a barrier by which people could crush that dream. People asked me what I really wanted to do, and I am fascinated with science, but sometimes people are saying science is bunk. However, being a scientist requires some observation. There are blind ones, but what vocational counselor would approve school to be a biologist if I couldn’t see the microscopic crap going on in a habitat? That’s worse than ever.

I have excelled at music, but for what? What sort of career would I take on? Well, first and foremost, I don’t want to have to do this, but I’m considering a run for Governor of Colorado as a longterm goal. Why? Because, well, kiddos, activism sometimes requires you to infiltrate the higher ups. I love our governor, but there’s something really wrong with all the nation’s governors. They’re all able, don’t know what it takes to be good change makers. Some are idiots, but like Polis, Governor Jared Polis, some are smart and have done incredible work to respond to the unprecedented pandemic that swept the earth. But me? I want to reform the guardianship system, take it away from the state, abolish young disabled people’s guardianships so that they can make their own choices throughout their lives, get proper supports, and maybe get the best chance at having a meaningful contribution to society, what by voting and engaging in civics that’s what.

As a politician, I’d be running on a disability rights platform, putting teeth in to the ADA, telling employers they have to hire not based on disability, telling employers that they can’t turn away people based on lack of a college degree, but rather, they should give people apprenticeships and experience so they can have a meaningful career. Example, friends who have told me I couldn’t broadcast are rightfully wrong for their actions. There are some pretty shitty broadcasters on the Internet, but I’d rather work for Colorado Public Radio. I would rather get accommodations for my disability, do internships, and do the right thing and get a career. However, a friend in Kentucky was told he couldn’t have his dream job because of inexperience and no college. No, this guy has plenty of experience in a workaday job and can do things you wouldn’t believe. He also broadcasts regularly on Twitch, and he goes by the username of “blindmetalgamer” all one word, but if you are interested in his gaming stuff, that’s his highlight. However, I think he would sound great on a radio station that promotes heavy metal and or hip hop. Just my thought.

My career, however, is not a career I want to have to take, but nobody is believing that guardians of young disabled people deny them too many meals a day, tell them they’ll be force fed, accuse them of being “crazy” and thus overmedicate them, and nobody believes that guardians are liquidating assets of elders who need the highest respect. I am shocked to learn that so many of our elders who are indeed the windows to our past are being treated like disposable paper plates. This has got to end. My parents have a family member with dementia they have to care for since his wife died, and now my mother in law has to decide whether to get the state involved in her mother’s care. However, the problem and the biggest statistic lies with the race of both these wonderful people. While my grandfather is retired gracefully, and in a good spot, I don’t know what will happen to my grandmother-in-law, she needs to be in a place of refuge for a while, not shut up in her own home. Not even in a nursing home should have anything to do with her care, but day programs are a good way to socialize and at least prevent early death. Early death happens when elders are isolated, and I’ve covered Japan a bunch of times, but they have better mindsets for their centenarians, and they have registered more centenarians than any other country I know. Blame it on the miso, but that stuff according to some I know is really good.

Americans like me should know the consequences of all this stuff, and I don’t want to be the one talking about this all the time at Capitol Hill, but we need to do something about the self determination of others who might be denied chances to marry, have kids, or live quiet lives with friends who actually give a damn. For example, I have a buddy who swears he doesn’t get supports where he had a family, but now he’s on his way to getting married. I don’t know what exactly will happen, but I’m hoping that my friends in the disability community read this carefully. I did not want to initially be an activist. I didn’t have any role models for activism, and disabled ones were few and far between.

As a person living with a sensory disability, I want to also mandate web accessibility of all utility and apps so that we can do a variety of things, including but not limited to, order pizza, date, do school work and homework, buy things we like or want or need, take pictures and so much more. I can imagine a world in which you can as a blind person do photo editing, take selfies with your guide dog at sit position, and so many other things too. What about blind persons having the capacity to drive a car? What about a totally renewable energy transportation for the disabled that makes noise, that tells you they’re waiting outside your driveway and so many other weird and wonderful things? I wouldn’t, however, recommend bubblegum travel like Jimmy Neutron, so please, whatever you do, don’t do that.

Thank you all for a pleasant evening, and yes, I’m super happy. I have found my place as an activist, but moreover, though I didn’t initially want to be one, I know where this world is capable of heading, but it must go forward, not backwards.

Beth