03 August, 2007

Giving People Dignity

Today as our nation stands as one grieving, hoping, and praying for those in Minnesota, I need to talk about something very near and dear to my heart. Many of you may not understand why I write this blog. I began writing because we live in a nation that promises dignnity for all. We live in a country that says, "if you work hard you can achieve anything." The reality of this country is however, somewhat different to that dream.

There are homeless people on the streets. There are people with cancers of all types who suffer daily. There are people like myself who are willing to work; willing to make a difference in the world but whose physical limitations are seen by society as an excuse for this country and others not to expect anything from its citizens with disabilities and that my friends, is what gives us our disabilities in the first place. And that's why although I have cerebral palsy, I was not born with any "disability" but rather, was placed at a disadvantage because of a lack societal expectations for people like me. "We'll give you money every month as long as we're not expected to help you do anything with your life." That's the general attitude of our country and many others. You want a good economy? Give people the tools necessary to contribute to that economy. My friends, we are a potentially great people. The creativity of the human race is astounding! Today I ask you, if we aren't taking care of each other; aren't trying to make the world better than it was when we got here, what are we doing?

We know that there's a hole in the ozone layer that's making it difficult for people to breathe. We know it's impacting our entire ecosystem and what, I ask you, are we doing about it? Nothing! You see, to me technology isn't about the latest operating system or the coolest new gadget.! It's about solving problems! What are we doing about the environment? Nothing! We know we could make hybrid cars mandatory, but we are far too concerned about profit. And this attitude is prevalent throughout society regardless of the problem in question. Don't believe me?

We knoww that there are not enough support staff to take care of the elderly and people like myself in the coming years and what are we doing about that? Nothing! We allow people to go into nurrsing homes at the age of 25 if necessary so that we do not haave to deal with spending the money to solve the problem. Dignity is not profitable. What are we doing about the elderly and people in my situation? Nothing! We know that investments in robotics could provide new treatments for people with disabilities and while there are places of ongoing research surrounding this idea, generally, what are we doing about this? Nothing! Need another example of our lack of concern for those in need?

May I direct your attention to Minnesota? There are bridges that have collapsed. We knew that they were in trouble and who do we see about that? How do we stand up and say that we're not going to allow this kind of thing anymore? We need to remind our elected officials that they are just that, elected officials. The people in power both locally and in Washington, work for the American people. What does all this have to do with technology? The point is that we have the technological and financial resources available to solve almost any problem. Sometimes I wonder if we truly have the willpower.

I write about technology to demonstrate to others what can happen when technological genius is applied to everyday problems. I'm not concerned with who makes money. I'm concerned with making the world better until something better comes along. That's the only way that there will ever be dignity for all.