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Where is the Deaf Voice in Politics?

March 24, 2008

ANOTHER VLOG BY MELVIN PATTERSON…

Hello again…
I still believe that Deaf and Hard of hearing people will sit down and listen two presidential candidates (1 Democrat and 1 Republican)…. You have a question for that topic, other question for other question and you want.? [fade to black] This video will not playing at this time. Because I spoke with a Political insider through Video Relay service. During the discussion with him, I expressed my concerns, my vision, and my passion by seeing new improvement in relationship between the Politics and the Deaf (apply to all deaf/hard of hearing individuals). I asked him if he is the right person to discuss these concerns. His replied: “YES!”

After I discussed all my ideas, he heard all of them and understood. He asked if he can bluntly say two things open.

An Insider said, “First of all, Do we have any powerful Deaf group that can be identified by our politicians? None.
Secondly, None of Deaf groups that donated a lot of money toward presidential campaign.
My concern is that how do our politicians perceive of Deaf people? They would just say, they, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, are just People with Disabilities. Politicians often would think which laws that are associated/applied to People with Disabilities. Politicians probably would say in a calmly attitude, “Oh, its ADA (American with Disabilities), Education Act, and few others for these People with Disabilities.””

I puzzled but gave an emphasize statement that we are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and we face common problems daily unlikely what other People with Disabilities went through.

An Insider said, “Yes but the point is that do we have a powerful deaf group that focuses on politics for the Deaf and tell Politician like this “We support you if you support us?”

[Silent… thinking…] I said, “We have several organizations…” “Specifically, which one?” Insider said.

[Silent… thinking…] I asked, “Don’t mind to give me an example of what group that can be identified by our politicians?” “Sure” He said. “NRA – National Rifle Association is known for a largest membership and support any president who supports NRA.”

A group of NRA cares of what they do with their guns at home. if something happens at home,
they are protected – you know. Or during leisure time, they can go out for hunting games. That group cares the Gun Right. If any President candidate who says, “I support NRA”, NRA leader would tell NRA members that this candidate is good cause he supports us and please vote him. NRA members will support and vote this candidate.

An Insider said, “Understand that once Politicans hear the name of NRA, they know NRA is one of powerful organization. They can identify that organization. So does the GLAAD – Gay/Lesiban Alliance Against Defamation.”

Any gay goes to work or apply for health insurance, they are protected by law. So if one needs an health insurance but denied because he or she is a gay/lesiban or discriminated at work. The group of attorneys wrote a law to stop that kind of discrimination. That specific law is designed to protect gay/lesiban and they are now seen as equal at any workplace.

So does the organization for Women. If men got handsomely paid and women got small paid, women protested it. Therefore, they got paid equally.

So does the NAACP – National Association for Advancement of Colored People. Anyone discriminated against them because of their color skin. No. No. They are all equal regardless what color skin is.

An Insider said, “Politicians can identify each powerful group and they know what they are but Deaf? Deaf is part of People with Disabilities and is protected by umm ADA, right?”

I said, “Oh… but the group…” An Insider interrupted and said, “Money? If this Deaf group has money to donate to one of our presidential candidates, all press members will be notified. Press members will ask the Deaf group to tell them what this Deaf group is all about, why should President candidate listen this group, etc. So does the Deaf has a large membership? Does it has money for donation ready? Tell me.”

I said, “Oh I see.” I back off a little bit and said, “I really want to have relationship with Politicians but I need to talk with the group of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people about it.” [Silent]

Do we have this group that support either Democratic or Republican and donate to one of them by say, “We promise to endorse you if you support us.” Something like that so President Candidate can announce to the public and say, “I support this Deaf group. I identify this group, I protect this group, I understand their passion, I know their goal and purpose, etc” Group of press member will spread the news about this Deaf group. Press member could say “This Deaf/Hard of Hearing donated a million dollars to one candidate.” Do we have this group? No.

Can we start a new group and name it?

My vision for every deaf/hard of hearing individuals to donate 20 dollars each because 20 dollars times 50 thousand contributors is 1 million dollars. I believe it can happen but… I need your help. Can someone take a lead by form a new group which we can earn money from the public? So if we have this kind of money, a leader of this group will ask candidates with a question “which one of you support us?”

Either party must say, “I support this group with a reason”. After we hear their reasons, we will choose one who we think is represents us. Once we chose one, we endorse one. A lot of reporters/anchors will let America know about us. We have a VOICE. We want new change. New change will give all politicians a new perspective of us – Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

So… what change? Department of Homeland Security is important. If there is crisis, an emergency crew may ask us to sit down and wait but we are completely lost. Or there?s miscommunicate with Police. Its in cycle of problem. Repeat problem. Call attorney for help and accuse Police of wrongdoing but attorney couldn?t help us because police is powerful.. has a lot of political blackmail and case closed.

Education? Give a large fund to public schools but small fund for deaf programs.

So go on over one reason that is, a point of Communication issue. That communication issue, we face every single day. I want to see this to stop completely. Change it and start improving.

Do you know anyone who is eagerly to take a lead or other organization that is willing to add a separate fund that is designed only for presidential campaign. Announce to our Deaf Community that one is working on the relationship between Politics and the Deaf. Money shows we are serious and want one of presidential candidates to be seriously consider to represent us.

Please help us. Let me know and I will let everyone know. I will join you and help to fund it.

Please.

Thank you.

PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO UNDER 200 WORDS, Thank you — Editor

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26 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing those discuss. It sure got my attention..


  2. Nice Vlog…

    The issues are very deep with the deaf community…two thoughts I can think of:

    1.) How many deaf people are there?

    If you read McConnell’s blog (before he shut it down), he once did a rough calculation and determined that there are about a million “ASL using culturally deaf” people in the U.S. He also determined that there were about 30 million people in the U.S. with hearing impairments (Oral, CI, Cued Speech, Late Deafened, ASL users, etc..).

    2.) Our community is VERY diverse…the most diverse of any political group I believe…other than other disability groups.

    I see the deaf community divided into three parts (BASICALLY)…oral/CI/AVT deaf people…ASL deaf people….and late deafened/Hoh deaf people… It has been my experience that most late deafened people identify with the hearing world…and Hoh people who do not have much loss also identify with the hearing world. Then there’s the oral/CI/AVT crowd who USUALLY (not always) identify with the hearing world because it is their goal to function within the hearing world primarily. Not to mention all of us could be republicans or democrats. Then after that…how many of us are in similar age groups? Similar racial groups? Have similar religious beliefs (religion plays a role in politics whether we like it or not).

    =========

    I think the only way to succeed as a collective political “voice” is to share a common goal like you said in your vlog. We need to focus on what we all want to change in America. The only thing I think that all 30 million hearing impaired people can agree on is the NEED for technological advancements for our handicaps (i.e. 24/7 closed captioning and/or subtitling EVERYWHERE, text messaging/relay services/VRI/VP/VCO/E-mail/instant messaging everywhere 24/7)


  3. I watched your tape last night over and over and over. You opened my eyes and hit me really hard that we have a way to improve our rights. We have been fooled by NAD and other organizations who did not tell us about this. But they are not clever anymore. Thank God for this website technology. I was ecastic to see an intelligent black man like you to come forth. There are many intelligent deaf black people out there…they are artistic, creative, imaginative etc. Hope to see more of your people come forth. We need them. You are right all the way. I will be gladly to donate more than $20.00 if we write a draft to set a law to protect deaf infants and children from getting CI. We need to do something about this. We need a new organization…not NAD. They are lukewarm and do not care about Deaf children because they are allowing Drs to experiment on Deaf infant and children (Drs who learned experiments from Dr. Mengel, well known Nazi Dr…). Why don’t you set a new organization? Look at you! You are bright and can do this job well. I have no doubt about it. Keep us posted. Again, I will donate and support only if draft show No CI on infants and children.


  4. wow Rite now I reallky understand better after u say … YEAH we should have to support any thing to them by vote and money too .. Hope lot of us will do that !!!!1 thank You ….. Wave my hands to u !!!!!!!


  5. NAD!!!!! National Association for the Deaf!! protects ASL! Ask DBC(Deaf Bilingual Coalition) to support the fund to the presidential candidates! I want to join! I agree with you…we have to do something and protect our number #1 ASL and ASL Education. Deaf Education(according to Carl Schroeder) screwed up by audists.


  6. It was NAD’s responsible to make those politics recognize deaf, but NAD failed! I will be very happy to join new deaf politic organization if it ever establish some days.


  7. You are so eloquent with making strong points. The deaf community is still in a great dialogue trying to meet common grounds to become stronger. This necessary dialogue will take some time. Meanwhile I think what Deaf Demoncrats is doing is provide an outstanding platform for us politically. I also want to add that along wiht your intelligence and public speaking skills, your demeanor is also very friendly and approachable which makes you an ideal spokesperson . I would like to talk with you about ideas about how to organize and fundraise so our Deaf voice can be heard. Contact me at Julie@smariosoft.com

    I look forward to your next vlog!

    Julie


  8. great speech u made !! very true…i quess our NAD is tied down being not able to endorse a canditate bec NAD recieves monies from Federal…if NAD dont recieve those type of grants, they/we may could endorse…i just hope there wont be another deaf political org other than NAD…we love our NAD and we just need to take a hard look at ourselves as members of NAD

    P.S. Just come to think of it, any president canditate cldnt give a speech at Gallaudet, bec it is a Federal property (McCain cant give his there, thats for sure, ha)


  9. Great idea! Let’s do it! Excellent. I’ll be glad to donate the money! Noo problem!


  10. Hi there,

    I could not find your name anywhere on this blog, “Deaf Democrats”. I really enjoy your vlog presentation with crispy clear ASL signing uses along with your non-biased and non-partisan messages for deaf voters.

    One remaining question about the future of interests group’ survival if McCain or Obama elected as the POTUS. I do not think so!

    Pols and candidates ought to serve the constitutents as the whole one, not pander to any interests group, etc. They should envisioned the long-term solutions for our country than fettling with interests group(s).

    We should get away with the duopoly of the two political parties in our country – Democrats and Republicans. What about other multi-parties to force the bickering babies to make compromises and work together to solve problems our country face.

    I would love to have Sen. Chuck Hagel and MIke Bloomberg to run for the presidency on the independent ticket. Perhaps will vote for Ralph Nader and Gonzales if they inject the anti-cochlear implant from the government and private industry fundings on their political platform.

    I also hope to see some deaf people push for both parties’ platform to include the abolishment of government fundings for the CI surgery on deaf children and adults, then forbade the private insurance industry from providing the coverage for the CI surgery as a non-health issue.

    Keep up the good work, Deaf Democrats. So I do not have to read the Deaf Republicans website as a sole source. 🙂

    Robert L. Mason (RLM)
    RLMDEAF blog


  11. Very inspiring video, it is encouraging me to go back to my political dream of starting a GOTV (Go out to vote) organization that will reach out to deaf people across America and educating deaf people about political process. I honestly believe that if more deaf people were educated about political process and how they can be involved in the political process that we Deaf and Hard of Hearing people can start developing a common voice and get the politicans to listen to us.

    NAD can’t be the organization to endorse politicians or tell us which candidate is the best for us to vote because NAD has a 501(c)3 tax extemption and the tax code is very clear that any organization that has a 501(c)3 non profit status cannot be involved in politics. But we need NAD to be an activist organization. However we must set up something that allows us to be a PAC (Political Action Committee) where we raise funds to contribute funds to politicians so they will do what we want them to do. It is a long process and I can see us really working hard to make this happen.


  12. Hello everyone! I really appreciate the comments above and the diverse opinions. That shows the beauty of our culture and just how different we are.

    JJ hit it on the nose really clearly….despite the fact we come from different directions, and our beliefs/values are so diverse, does make it difficult to get together. I agree with him that we should meet on common grounds, Closed captioning, communication access especially in the legal and medical areas (not everyone needs an interpreter, but at least some sort of communication like CART for those who don’t sign) and public sites where we can use VRS or the relay. Those are common grounds.

    Why can’t the ASL community continue to do what they do, but accept the fact, they are not the only ones who are demanding closed captioning and other accessible services? As long as we continue to be angry and shut the door on the other non-signing deaf groups, we will continue to be isolated.

    I agree with Tom also, NAD needs to be an activist organization. The way it is currently, mainstream America will never notice them. AGBell, HLAA (formerly SHHH) and ALDA all have strong political push within the hearing community. NAD? Sigh…

    Keep em coming folks!!


  13. This should be separated from NAD, which may or may not adequately express this. How? We need a group that called them to ‘arms’.

    Any thoughts about contacting Willie Brown Institute? Give them a call. I think every City should follow the lead of San Francisco to end this culture of hazing. I am sort of surprised that no one from the medical community has spoken up.


  14. Hiya Steven,

    Are you talking about the deaf medical community or the general medical community?

    if you mean the deaf medical community, I’m honestly not surprised.


  15. The VLOG was *excellent.* I am still too much of an idealist to accept the fact that this is what our country has come to. Unfortunately, we’ve no choice but to form a “coalition” of deaf activist that will organize to raise funds *and* lobby for our needs. Being that we are so diverse, that will be interesting. If we set up organization A that says we expect no CI in children, you think perhaps organization B won’t spring up to fight what we want? I take offense at what this leader told Melvin. This will end up dividing, even further the efforts to try to bring more people on page with what Deaf and Hard of Hearing People need. If organization A raises $1 mil. I’ll guarantee u organization B will raise $2. The bidding/lobbying begins.


  16. (part 2)

    My offense is that deafness is not defined by race, creed, religion, or belief! It is defined by what we individually, and collectively need. If we have to set up an organization — I’m all *for* an organization, but keep in mind that it’s no quick fix. NRA didn’t become powerful overnight. If I’m not mistaken, it was low key when I was growing up. It wasn’t until Reagun became president that NRA really came out in full force. Should it matter that I donated $1 million or not, in order to get captioning? to get relay services? to get interpreting services? to get *equal* and unfettered access to what every non-deaf, non-deaf hard of hearing person living in America gets?


  17. Let me clarify my support for the organization … I am an idealist — I *want* to believe that we don’t have to resort to this. I’m a realist in being a novice player in the political system, given my own challenges where I live in becoming a delegate. Even *within* the political mechanism looking at it from the inside, access is not easy to come by. I hope that, indeed, I do have an interpreter (2) while I’m a delegate out our county convention. Like every person living in the county I live in, I want to be able to participate in the very democratic process that is open to all who can hear without difficulty. I shouldn’t have to pay $1000000+ to gain someone’s attention to, in turn, gain equal access to democracy. That’s sad.


  18. I like your thinking, Ken…and, I, too, hope I can finally reach a 100% access level with the rest of the world.

    However, is our being, our lifestyle any different than every other culture on this earth? Granted our culture focuses on the visual, and we’re a very tiny minority compare to how many billions of people who live in this world.

    There are other ways of getting attention….without shoveling out millions of $$$. One idea is to find ONE COMMON ISSUE (ie-closed captioning) and work together. Just once I’d like to see every “dDeaf/HOH/Late deaf/whatever organization get behind just one issue.

    Problem is, who is willing to take on this monumental task of forming yet another organization that can feel the pulse of behind the scene politics. reaching out to every elected official in the nation, not to mention getting our issues to future candidates….tough job ahead.


  19. V – I’m right there with you! 🙂 I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of talking about needing to rally around the needs/cause of dDeaf/Hard of Hearing/Late deaf individuals. Find things we *can* agree on and pursue them! We ALL want equal access, for example. The hot button issues are NEVER going away — to implant or not is like pro-life vs pro-choice. They are very polarizing issues–issues which will never see all parties see eye to eye.

    We have vehicles (organizations) already in existence who already on the front lines advocating for us — NAD, TDI, etc. It is our energy and input that needs to support and drive their efforts for things we can all live with. New organizations may not need to be formed.

    At the democratic county convention where I was today; it was painstakingly clear that these folks don’t have it in the forefront of their minds — “oh, I need to be sure we have an interpreter, in case we have a deaf person” or “oh, it surely would help to have CART services…” and so on. Yes, I put in a request weeks ago. The chairperson apologized profusely … After a long day, he pulled me aside and apologized once more and said it was my responsibility. My response, “You’re telling me to get interpreters and then you will open your wallet?” His reply, “Yes.” I know the battle cry would be, “They should get an interpreter for you!” My rebuttal would be, a) I know what/who I want; b) engage in the path of least resistance, c) boil the frog slowly, and d) as they get used to me they will consider making the necessary changes in their budget.

    The next test will be the state convention, of which I’m an alternate, but awaiting to hear if I got an at-large bid to be a full-fledged delegate. I’m using *their* language (“disabled”) although in my own eyes, I “obviously” don’t see myself as a person with a “dis-ability.” “Dis-abled” is language that is understood by the public. Ain’t no way I’m gonna change that thinking, since it would be like me driving in the wrong lane of traffic.

    Will keep y’all posted of my progress … my goal is to get to the national convention. Maybe I’ll see CB there, if she gets a bid. 🙂 This may be overstating it, but I see it as one small step for me; one large step for deafkind. That’s what it will take on all of our parts wherever we live. As Tip O’Neil said, “all politics is local.”

    Peace-out, Ken


  20. Hi Everyone,

    Guess what 🙂 I am one of deaf delegate (democrat) from Washington State this year. I have been heavily INVOLVED assuring that Hillary R. Clinton will be expriencing firsthand toward the BIG-WIN among the deaf/hoh communities and it’s people in United States of America.

    I have already made several political ties (all of them democrats with disabilities) as well in State of Washington! Yay Yay that’s a good FRESH START, Isn’t it????

    My goal/plans are: Once the voting session is over this upcoming November for Presidential candidate. I will be devoting, dedicating my political time advocating for our deaf/hoh’s bill of rights, bylaws, homeownership program opportunites as well as “deaf/hoh delegate task force” of some-sort preparing for 2012 democrat delegate convention as well FYI 🙂

    Of course, You are always WELCOME contacting me discussing regarding your democrat poliltical INTERESTS! I’m here for YQU!!!!!! Let’s work as a utilimate TEAM! 🙂

    Luv you all,

    David Galyean


  21. Hiya David and welcome.

    Good to know there are people out there who are working to improve our deaf lives through the political process. I just wish there were more people involved like you are, instead of just sitting back and not speaking out.

    there are so few people who understand how the political process work, not to mention understanding how important it is to meet and know people within the democratic party. In order for us to get ahead in life and to get the services we deserve as Americans, born and raised, we have to let the party know. It’s a tough, slow, time-consuming and at times very discouraging process, but if you have the energy and the willingness to keep on going…then all the power to you! I’m behind you all the way! 🙂

    keep us posted on your progress, what you’ve learned and if there are steps we may not be aware of, to improve our own lives.

    You GO, Man!


  22. Hello Mr. Patterson-
    We are the co chairs of the next National Black Deaf Conference in the summer of 2009 and we would like to have your contact information to invite you as one of the most important speakers. The conference will be held in Phoenix Arizona.
    We looking forward to hear from you.
    Thanks
    Mel and Patrice


  23. http://www.alldeaf.com/general-chat/57130-alaska-governor-sarah-palin-slashed-deaf-school-funding.html

    http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/09/palin_and_special_needs_children.php

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adrienne-williams/palin-gutted-special-ed-f_b_123774.html

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/3/163229/8631/847/584963

    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin slashed Deaf School funding

    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin slashed Deaf School funding.They (McCain and Palin) plan to cut down the special school (deaf school, blind school, and special need school Palin did cut down lot in Alaska School for the Deaf during her governor term.
    Sarah Palin’s speech received loud applause at the Republican National Convention (RNC), especially the talking points on America first and the strong language blasting Barack Obama and Joe Biden. She also won applause on issues regarding special needs of children. However, in the ‘State of Alaska Fiscal Year 2008 Governor’s Operating Budget’ the ‘Department of Education and Early Development Special Schools Component Budget Summary’ reveals those funds were cut by 38 percent for the fiscal year of 2008-09. During 2006, children served by special education facilities and programs, including the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) and the Alaska School for the Deaf, received more state support; but as of 2008 and 2009, the proposed budget was cut from $7,949.30 down to $3,156.00. Under Alaskan Budget Documents: These funds provide supplementary educational services to students with severe disabling conditions. The resident school where the child would normally be placed does not have the resources to provide an adequate educational program. Without the supplementary services, the child’s needs would not be met by the local school district in most cases. Palin sliced the program by more than half, laying out a mere $3,000 for special needs kids for the year and saving the taxpayers of Alaska less than $5,000.

    AND … Ya guys know John McCain was on Board of Trustee for Gallaudet University and when Gally had BPN (Better President Now) Protest, he resigned from the Board of Trustee. That shows me he’s fear of the war or even protest.


  24. The faith and freedom. The living Constitution,Change,challenge, and dream which stand in the world. This is Tree of Liberty and Independenty of earth society. Must following and knowledgeable and Law of the Land. Is for the world and hearing world must understanding and fact about the usa and america people will rise of founding father. Some day will time to years will take action while the risk great deaf president of united states of america as is leadership


  25. the world hearing between deaf world will take action on the ground of war if deaf people and hearing people not work out right and there will be war in the world and will be called it the deaf empire most so powerfull can be


  26. OMG, you deaf people are blinded by democrat politics or deaf teachers that telling you in a WRONG way!

    Whoever said that Sarah Palin and John McCain do not support deaf people are balantly lie! Sarah Palin has autism son, and therefore supports her son all the way due his son disability. That’s mean she does support deaf people!

    Historic speaking, JFK’s vision to have all americans including disability, races, and genders receive equality rights… sure, those democrat teachers tell you that JFK is a democrat, but in modern politic, JFK is more likely republican because he is very conservativley. After LBJ (old time democrat from Texas) signed the civil rights in 1968 and after RFK got assissinated (JFK’s brother), the democrat and republican parties switched the party (old time democrat party switched to modern republican party, and old time republican party switched to modern democrat party).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Housing_Act

    Now, let’s look at ADA… who signed the ADA law? George H.W. Bush, he’s the first president that signed the ADA law to allow all disabilities to receive a far treatment including deaf people! Again, George W. Bush signed modified ADA law in 2008 to give protections to disabilities people.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_With_Disabilities_Act

    Deaf people please do your research about democrat and republican party interest. Let me tell you this, why those democrat states do not support deaf school that much and in fact is the most underfunded to deaf school to keep their education to up-dated modern education. Let’s look at the perfect example on Kentucky, Kentucky is well known for long time republican government running and Kentucky school is one of the best education program for deaf people in the program. FUNDED BY REPUBLICANS!

    Republicans is the defender of the consutitional rights, which means supports deaf’s right!

    Please wake up, and do the research to find the truth about republican.



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