When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 30 years ago, I was there. Yep, somehow, they even let the likes of me in. So, one thing we can say has changed a lot in 30 years is security was a hell of a lot laxer back then.
And when I left the White House grounds that day, nobody frisked me to make sure I wasn’t stealing any silverware. Of course, the whole ceremony was held outdoors on the White House lawn, which was probably a good thing in the long run. If all the crippled riffraff like me who were present had been inside the White House, the festivities would have inevitably devolved into a pie fight. Either that or somebody would have spazzed out and smashed a priceless bust of Lincoln or something like that. Who knows how that might have altered the course of history? I don’t want to think about it.
But one thing that hasn’t changed much over the last three decades is we still live in a world that’s full of chin-high tables. God how I hate those things. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You go into a bar or restaurant, and all they have are those tall tables with long-legged chairs. If you sit in a wheelchair, all you can do is rest your chin on the table. I feel like a dork when I sit at one of those tables, and I bet I look like one, too.
You’d think that by now, the ADA would have wiped out all vestiges of places with only chin-high tables. Because that’s how things are supposed to work, at least on paper. Congress passes a law or the Supreme Court issues a ruling and all the law-abiding citizens comply.
But if that’s how things really worked, then as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, all the racist segregationists would