e d g e - education for disability and gender equity

Government
CONTENTS

1 Introduction
2 Why Enact the ADA?
3 What Does the ADA Do?
4 The U.S. Constitution
5 How Voters Influence Elected Officials
6 The Disability Vote
7 Setting the Stage for the ADA
8 Campaigning for the ADA
   
9 Activity
 
10 Resources
   

ACTIVITY

As you have learned, there is widespread support for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and for its ideals of access, inclusion, and opportunity. However, there have also been several concerted efforts to weaken the ADA.

Just as government was the focal point for activists' campaign to pass disability-rights legislation, and for opponents' efforts to stop such legislation, now government continues to be the battleground in efforts to change the ADA for better or worse.

For your activity, you will need to think hard about the role of government in people's lives, and about political considerations which guide elected officials voting decisions.

Here is a hypothetical situation:

You are doing volunteer work with a disability-rights organization in Washington, D.C. One day your supervisor tells you she has an important assignment for you. A group of Congress members has just announced that they are introducing a bill to repeal the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability organizations are mobilizing to fight this bill. Your job is to draft a one-page document that can be sent to all members of Congress, listing the reasons why they should vote against the repeal bill, and should continue to support the ADA. Your supervisor tells you to make this list in two columns, like this --

SUPPORTING THE ADA IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO
SUPPORTING THE ADA IS THE SMART THING TO DO
   

In the first column, you should list arguments for the ADA which relate to the ideals of a democratic government. In the second column, you should list arguments which relate to more practical considerations, reminding the politicians of how this issue relates to their own careers and electability.

Each argument you list should be one or two sentences. Each should be persuasive, designed to convince representatives to vote against any repeal efforts. Each argument should be supported with fact(s), and/or with a specific reference to U.S. history or government.

An example is provided under each column below. Complete the list with your own arguments, listing at least six points on each side.

SUPPORTING THE ADA IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO
SUPPORTING THE ADA IS THE SMART THING TO DO
The U.S. has an important history of nondiscrimination laws, such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A huge coalition of disability groups supported passage of the ADA. Those groups will join together again to fend off any attacks!

Ready for the Government Self-Test?


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