Monday, August 4, 2008

Your tax dollars (not) at work

On July 29, the big story on the front page of the Austin American Statesman was about a state agency whose building is largely inaccessible to persons with disabilities--ramps were too steep, doors were too heavy, counters were too high for people in wheelchairs, and so on. Turns out the agency not only lacked most recommended accomodations for the disabled, it was at least 15 years behind the code (the same code that private businesses have to abide by or face fines and punitive action, by the way). Biggest problem: the agency was the Health and Human Services Commission, the same state agency that administers programs for people with disabilities.

This made me think of two things: One, I was reminded of the absolute impossibility of depending on the government to do anything. I am infinitely grateful that I am not dependent on welfare or an immigrant (documented or otherwise) or waiting for disaster relief or disability services. Even just getting Boo a driver's license has turned out to be completely overwhelming.

Second, I thought about the wider implications of accessibility. For example, since it hits close to home, how often do we invite people to find spiritual answers at church and then make it almost impossible for them to find what they are looking for. We force them to navigate our rituals and our jargon and our social cliques and our petty infighting and then tell them, "Y'all come back now!" and wonder why they don't.

1 comment:

Scooter said...

Just one Question: "Was the building the Agency for Disabled Veterns?" Just wondering! (LOL) Now that would be quite interesting! Not that I am advocating anything.

I also agree with the aspect of the Christainese that many of us are so apt to using. I think that many times we don't even know that we are doing it.

Anyway - Glad C and Boo got to go on the Mission trip and they look like they had a blast.

Talk to you later.