Thursday, 20 August 2015

I Am A Fourth Class Citizen

This week 94 years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first diagnosed with the polio virus. So began a history making period of reflection and perseverance that would change the world. Less than twelve years later he would begin his term as President of the United States while being unable to walk and instead utilising a wheelchair for movement.

Every day I and my compatriots with physical disabilities are treated as fourth class citizens. We are shunned, ignored, bullied, forgotten and constantly undervalued.

The most important figure in modern history and I share comparable movement of our legs. Because of this, our brains were forced to compensate. A society that underestimates the more than 1 million physically disabled Australians, is a society that undervalues the crucial values of human life: courage, tenacity, fortitude and a sense of realism. Our nation not only disregards these assets, they wilfully ignore them. If the progress of our community is judged by how we treat those who are disadvantaged, then it is truly a cesspool of self interest and greed.

If only the majority were forced into an compulsory period of reflection so they could truly know what it is like to struggle, maybe those of us who have physical disabilities would gain the respect we are entitled to. Instead most equate 'struggle' to menial day to day concerns that are based upon economics and social standing.

Humans cannot truly empathise until they have been through pain and emerged stronger from the experience.

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