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Sunday Poll: What Should Qualify As A Disability?

July 26, 2015 Featured, Sunday Poll 8 Comments

Twenty-five years ago today President George H.W. Bush singed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. A national poll released Friday showed support for the ADA but disagreement over what should qualify as a disability. For the poll today I want to see how reader’s views compare to the national results.

Select all that apply. There are additional qualifiers not listed — this list matches those from the poll — enabling a comparison. Please vote above and come back Wednesday to see how the results compare to the national poll.

— Steve Patterson



Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    This should be interesting. The list identifies many conditions that have been defined as “diseases”, which, by extension, could/should be covered by the ADA. And when it comes to the ADA, the real is issue is the need to “accomodate” those conditions that have been defined as “disabilities”. The core ones – blindness, mobility, etc. – are “easy”, there should be no debate. The outliers are where the challenges lie, especially (for me) when they’re self-created / made worse by personal choices – obesity, smoking-related, alcohol-related, etc. Should you be allowed to use a handicapped parking space if you have COPD because you smoked for 30 years? Should Metro have to buy vehicles with heavy-duty lifts because you weigh more than 400 pounds? Should you be allowed to take your therapy animal everywhere (including into restaurants and onto planes) because you got online verification of your “need”? And is pregnancy (and the first year or two of motherhood) a short-term disability, one that requires more “accomodation”?

    This is a microcosm of pretty much every government program. It starts/started out with good intentions and defined goals. Over the years, the rules become increasingly complex, as “special” circumstances are added and more and more “conditions” are included – anxiety, really? Compulsive eating, drinking, smoking, gambling, sex?! And what “works” well for someone in a wheelchair doesn’t work well for a tall person with a bad back. Alerting (and communicating with) a blind person requires different (and, at times, conflcting) solutions than alerting a deaf person – “A Nod Is As Good As Wink To A Blind Horse”. We’re all “special” and deserve to be treated better than the next person . . . .


    • Obesity, for example, isn’t self-inflicted. The inability to control food intake is inherited, just like predisposition to cancer, heart disease, etc. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137002/

      • JZ71 says:

        Yes, in some cases, it is a disease. But in many cases, it’s a case of eating too much and exercising too little (yes, I’m guilty). But that’s not the issue, the issue is if it is a “disability”, one that falls under the purview of the ADA? Are the side effects of every disease and every physical condition a “disability”, something that should be, needs to be “accomodated”? Should I be entitled to more legroom on an airplane, for no additional cost, just because I’m tall and have longer legs? Should an obese person be “given” two seats on an airplane if they won’t fit in one “standard” one? Or shoud they be “forced” to pay two seats? So they don’t expand into “my” or another passenger’s space?!

        • Mark-AL says:

          Tall people will NEVER be declared “disabled” and will always have to continue to be resourceful, and will never be able to rely on the government to solve their height/long-leg problems. Oh, darn! For some reason, the government just won’t listen to us! So tall people have to take control of their situation and figure out legitimate detours. I’m 6-2, and when I’m not flying in business class or in first class, I always think ahead and volunteer to sit in one of the evacuation isles (or the bulkhead isle), where I’ll pick up at least 12″ of FREE leg room. But if the government declares “tallness” as a disability and decides to subsidize for us a larger seat with more legroom, there won’t be a reason for me to be resourceful, will there? But I’m not really looking forward to this gov’t bene, because I’m afraid that too much government regulation might also render me dull and flaccid and persuade me to follow the masses, drooling and slumbering down the jetway and into cattle class section without giving much thought to what I’m doing, take a seat, settle into oblivion with all the others, place the headphones on my head and not have to do much more than breathe for the next several hours of flight–almost like a government-structured retirement. No, thanks.

  2. L.Klein says:

    I have a problem with people who have an injury or disease which prevents them from doing their current job but would not prevent them from doing ANY job yet are still determined to be permanently disabled and given a stipend (meager though it is) and healthcare for life. If you are capable of doing any work you should not be excused from trying to find it.

  3. Mark-AL says:

    I wonder if cancer belongs on the list. If so, how about syphilis or gonorrhea, at least while they are still active and still being treated? Major burning! Very uncomfortable! And if cancer belongs there, how about nephritis? Nephritis isn’t a pleasant illness to live with, I’m told. The list of non-cancerous diseases is long, and the symptoms of those diseases can be as debilitating as those of cancer. Unchecked, very soon just about everyone might be considered “disabled”, and there won’t be any reason to designate “handicapped parking” because the entire lot will be filled with license plates displaying the little wheelchair symbol. I wonder if the movement toward designating the entire population “disabled” might be an outgrowth of the “everyone wins a trophy” movement, being pushed by the liberal agenda? And I question if compulsive gambling, morbid obesity, smoking addiction, sex addiction, drug addiction, alcoholism really belong on the list of “legitimate” disabilities. Are these actual disabilities or perhaps just personal choices gone awry? I wonder why we don’t give “personal responsibility” and “self-discipline” a try before we declare close to our entire population “disabled”? Go to Walmart tonight! Take a look at the cows that enter and exit through those doors. Then tell me that one fewer Snicker bar and one smaller serving of fried chicken wouldn’t go a long way toward solving the problem. Certainly, allowing the chubbies to use the handicapped spaces will get them closer to the door and further reduce their exercise. Probably not good! (I smell another lawsuit!) The solution to address gambling compulsion, sex or drug addiction, and morbid obesity is not a pleasant one, isn’t a quick fix, takes determination and personal sacrifice–but I firmly believe that the solution is not in the law.


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