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RE: Congressional hearing

From: Charles F. Munat <charles@munat.com>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 15:27:09 -0800
To: "David Poehlman" <poehlman@clark.net>, "Glenda Watson Hyatt" <Glenda@eaglecom.bc.ca>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "disabilityaccess@onelist.com" <disacc@onelist.com>
David Poehlman wrote:

"We are about to go to a more conservative presedidency most likely and that usually means tightening the laws concerning special rights and priviliges to the non rich."


I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but it's indicative of how brainwashed we all are that we say it without thinking...

Accessibility is not a "special" right. Just as laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation are not "special" rights. All of these laws are simply intended to ensure that people get the basic rights to which they are entitled. And the laws are not enough.

Again, I'm sure you agree, but it's important enough to be worth repeating, and I think it provides some insight into how far we have to go that even we fall into the trap of calling them "special rights."

The true recipients of enormous favor and special rights are the rich. The imbalance is horrifying to anyone with a sense of fairness, and it only seems to get worse.

The imbalance of power between white and non-white, male and female, abled and disabled, north and south, hetero and homosexual, etc. seems to be improving, but only so long as it does not interfere with the prerogatives of the rich. Note that the problem with the ADA (as seen by some) is that it "costs too much." And we are left to try to prove that it doesn't.

In my mind, I don't give a damn what it costs. It "costs too much" for any citizen to be deprived of access to power, and information is definitely power. Once again, we are arguing money versus people and money seems to be winning.

In centuries hence, if we survive, people will look back at us and wonder how we could be so barbaric, so greedy, so cruel. Frankly, I'm often ashamed to be human and would be embarrassed to have to describe myself as one to an alien species. I often find myself asking, "Aren't there any other planets I could move to?"

Let's hope that some ray of enlightenment shines upon this upcoming committee meeting. I feel somewhat reassured knowing that Judy will be there, but I also see that the cards are stacked against us from the start.

Charles Munat
Munat, Inc.
Seattle, Washington
Received on Friday, 4 February 2000 18:27:08 UTC

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