When you were on TV. for everyone to see, you promised to represent my community to your fullest capability. Evoking equality was your mission to be, breaking through the barriers, giving means for more opportunity. But, what happens when the cameras are turned off and no one is watching, will you still care or will you pretend that you are not there?
During campaign seasons, we hear politicians make promises to their constituents, to which some they keep and others they do not. Like any other person, politicians have their public and private selves to which they choose how/when to reveal to others. Some individual’s public self is not that different from their private persona; whereas, for some, they may be as different as night and day.
You have probably heard of the recent allegations about Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, brought upon by her former aid Mona Floyd. For those of you who have not heard, Ms. Floyd, who is visually impaired, claims that there is a discrepancy between Representative Jackson Lee’s public support for people with disabilities and her private actions. Ms. Floyd alleges that the representative had no regard for her disability by talking about the impairment in a derogatory manner and not implementing necessary accommodations for Ms. Floyd to accomplish tasks. I do not know the exact particulars of what did and did not occur because I was not there, but I do know that if the allegations are substantiated, then it is unfortunate.
When hearing this story it made me think back on some instances when I felt dismissed by my local representatives in conversations and volunteer opportunities. A representative is supposed to embody ALL of their constituents. We are ALL human beings and everyone deserves a chance to succeed. When selecting/supporting your politicians, I urge you to ponder these questions: Where does he/she stand on the issues of people with a disability? How does he/she interact with their disabled constituents? Does he/she have any staff members or volunteers who have a disability, if so how do they interact with them? Please let us know what you think and remember, disability does not mean inability!