Political Realitites in the Disability Community

Change can be a scary thing. These orange neon letters on a dark background spelling out change, reminds us that without change, there would be no civil rights.

Both technology and disability should be bipartisan at their very core. We all do or could benefit from technology and we are all subject to potential disability in our personal or family lives at any time. Many like to say that both are bipartisan, but we all know that like so many other things today they are not politics-free zones. The great debate over the effect of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media-driven technologies are having on the American political system is occupying much of our national discourse. For the past fifty plus years, the politics of disability have likewise consumed not only public debate but a growing part of local, state and federal budgets. There is not a great lack of funding that is denying peoples civil rights. There is a great lack of political will that is allowing technology to undermine the intent behind disability law and budgets.

It is not just the raw party politics that affect both technology and disability. There are many kinds of politics that put pressure on both subjects from a spectrum of positions. It is this spectrum of the civic, corporate, party and social-political pressure that is responsible for the alarms being raised about inaccessible information technology and the risk it poses to the civic, employment and social futures of millions of people with disabilities. There is a justifiable legal position to require that information technology be accessible to people with disabilities. The spectrum of political will does not clearly exist and that is why Access Ready has been formed. As a disability advocacy organization, it cannot ignore the political pressures from many directions that will come to bear on what is referred to as politechnobility.

Access Ready as an organization understands that it needs the best leadership on the subject of the political sciences. Leadership from a political practitioner who has worked at the local, state and national levels. A political player who has worked inside government, party, and lobbying mechanisms across a wide range of subjects. A family leader who understands the who, what, where, when and how politics of the moment effects average Americans. A political scientist who approaches every circumstance with a keen intent to learn, understand, analyze and strategize a short and long-term response to the most complex political situations. Access Ready is honored to welcome William L. “Chip” Smith, a 29-year veteran in the arena of government affairs to its Board of Directors.

The politics of information technology as it combines with a disability is a significant opportunity to set things on the right path. Much of the issue is related to a lack of understanding which requires education. Policymakers, enforcers, and developers have clearly not yet grasped how important accessible information technology is to the future of people with disabilities. Accessible information technology presents such a wide range of possibilities for the inclusion of people with disabilities across all spectrums of civic, employment and social life. Inaccessible technology, on the other hand, is a clear and present danger to the future of people with disabilities in our modern technology-driven society. Access Ready is in the business of educating everyone on the urgent need for a policy change that makes accessing information technology a matter of course and not an afterthought.

As an organization, we cannot and will not ignore the political realities that come to bear on Access Ready’s policy efforts. This politechnbility space is a reality and Access Ready is gathering the best Execution Team available to educate, guide and manage the policy path it must follow to reach the tipping point necessary to bring about a fundamental shift in the information technology universe. Anyone who does not grasp the global issue of how inaccessible technology will negatively impact the future of people with disabilities is a subject for educational efforts and many of them are in the political marina. Access Ready’s polotechnobility strategy is education across the entire spectrum of players that can affect the outcome of the global policy drive to make inaccessible technology a think of the past and the possibilities created by accessibility a reality.

Douglas George Towne

Chair and Chief Executive Officer

Access Ready Incorporated