Politics and Disabilities
Politics is a subject that covers a broad range of areas of human endeavor. Politics has a long history stretching back to the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Politics is the study of the relationship between people, their institutions, and their government. In modern society, politics is a branch of social science that seeks to understand how political parties, governments, and individuals come to decide on the course of political action. Politics is often considered to be one of the most important and influential fields of study.
Politics is an important area of study for those who are interested in social issues, such as economic policies, social structure, and welfare. Politics is often studied by those who are interested in making a change in society. The study of politics as it affects those who are politically active has helped shape many areas of policy and societal interest. Political interest groups are usually comprised of individuals who have one or more barriers to political participation.
There are many reasons why people may experience barriers to political participation. Disability status, age, gender, ethnicity, and level of education can all have an impact on whether a person is politically active or not. Barriers to political participation arise for many different reasons. Some of the most common reasons for disabilities to not being able to participate in political affairs include physical and mental disabilities, education disabilities, developmental disabilities, and illiteracy.
There are many types of barriers to political participation. Disability status can include things like limited English or no formal education. Education disabilities can include grade school dropouts, illiteracy, and/or low math scores. Those with developmental disabilities may have difficulties learning to make decisions and adapt to life as a non-dominant disability. Income and wealth can affect how a person learns to make decisions and assess risks.
As it relates to disabilities that limit political participation, there are many ways that these disabilities can be overcome. Public forums, including large and small disability organizations, are suggested activities to help those with physical and mental disabilities to become active in the political system. These organizations help those with these limitations learn how to navigate through the voting process. Through the assistance of these organizations, disabled individuals are given the opportunity to play an active role in their community.
The National Campaign for Older Americans, or the NCAAR, is an organization that helps those with disabilities build political awareness. NCAAR conducts a national campaign that highlights the importance of older citizens participating in elections. The program offers literature that includes the basic rights of citizens and advises people with disabilities on how to register and vote. Since disability laws vary by state, it is important to take time to check which laws are necessary for your state. Once you understand the ins and outs of local election laws, you will know exactly what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted. For example, if you use a wheelchair to enter a voting booth, you may need additional assistance to legally cast a ballot.
There are many organizations that provide resources and assistance to those with disabilities who wish to participate in political awareness events. For example, Vocational Rehabilitation Centers provides literature on local election laws and voter registration forms. Similarly, The National Association of Home Builders provides guides on how to register and vote. Other disability-specific websites include voter registration information, tips for older voters, and a list of disability-specific issues that affect local elections. Likewise, CFDA, which stands for the Center for Disability Employment and Development, provides a list of employment resources and services for people with disabilities. This list is frequently updated and can be found online.
Politics affects everyone. However, those with disabilities often face unique barriers to participating in the political process. These barriers can range from environmental and transportation barriers to language and communication barriers. Politics for people with disabilities can help ensure that barriers to voting do not erode meaningful participation. Moreover, by ensuring that those with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the political process, politics can also promote better policies that benefit individuals with disabilities and the community at large. This is true regardless of whether one feels that disability should be an end or a means to an end.