For sixty years, I’ve been reporting on the disabled and disability rights groups. In school systems like NewYork’s, kids “with special needs” (an administrative euphemism) are left far behind, along with English language-learners. In the nation’s continually overflowing prisons, the disabled serve heavily intensified sentences.
My interest in this dark side of the Fourth Amendment’s equal protection under law was quickened long ago when a member of the disability rights group Not Dead Yet was driving me to a protest meeting. Turning to me as we arrived, he told me, “Like many Americans, you’re only temporarily able.” Now eight-seven and a half, I remembered that as arthritis took over my leg. I look with envy from my window at all those passersby for whom walking is as natural as breathing.