Thursday, December 01, 2005

Santorums - Handicapped?

"In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

This little tidbit from the blog CapitolBuzz came across my desk courtesy of my pal Beth.
Santorums Park In A Handicapped Spot?

A Buzz reader reports seeing one of Rick Santorum's cars parked in a handicapped parking spot at the Tyson's Corner mall in Virginia over the Thanksgiving weekend and then saw Mrs Santorum carrying bags of stuff to her handicapped parking spot.

1) This guy is never in PA.

2) He doesn't just cut programs to help the disabled. He also takes their parking spots.

3) His little shopping spree did more to help the VA economy than his Senate career has done to help the PA economy.
It brought to mind an issue that really ticks me off (besides the idiotic Santorums) -- the use and abuse of handicapped parking spots.

First, let's review Mrs. Santorum's right to handicapped parking. She did win a medical malpractice suit against a chiropractor and claims continuing physical problems. If her doctor concurs and submitted the proper government registration forms, she might in fact possess a legitimate handicapped parking permit.

Which doesn't mean she needs it 24/7. Nor should she abuse the very real privilege and responsibility it represents by preventing more worthy handicapped tag owners from using the special parking spots. That's the point here: degrees of handicapped status and genuine need.

There are people with minor disabilities like bad backs who occasionally need special parking. Then there are those who can't walk long distances: the older infirm who depend on canes or walkers, and people with lung or degenerative diseases. Finally there are the truly disabled who are wheelchair bound full-time.

If Mrs. Santorum can walk through the enormous Tyson's Corner Mall and then to her car carrying an armload of packages, she doesn't fit any of those categories. Period. And she should be ashamed of herself.

Handicapped parking was originally designed to accommodate those who need extra space to exit from a car in a wheelchair -- the universal handicapped symbol. As the population ages, more and more people will need special consideration for a variety of disabilities.

More regular parking spaces should be allocated for the disabled who are not in wheelchairs. Senator Santorum should spend less time railing against non-Christian behavior and more time doing a Christian deed by introducing legislation to create those spaces. Until that happens, every time someone like Mrs. Santorum uses her handicapped tag for convenience instead of need, somebody in a wheelchair is screwed.

By the way, I have a handicapped parking permit myself, for a disease that allows me to go to the gym on good days and forces me to hobble with a cane on bad days. When the latter happens, I use my permit -- unless it's for the last available handicapped parking space.

That space belongs to someone who would surely give anything to walk at all, even with a cane.

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