DOES MY DISABILITY MAKE ME LESS OF A CITIZEN THAN ANYONE ELSE?
I am a citizen of the United States of America. Have been for more than 62 years. In that time, I served my country in the Navy and as a civil servant in the Federal Government. I have never been convicted of a crime… in fact, the first time I was ever hauled in front of a judge was when William John Joseph Hoge III of Westminster, Maryland, decided I did not have the right to Tweet his name with an at symbol in front of it.
I am a citizen. I am protected by the Constitution, Federal, State, local and municipal laws.
I am also a disabled person. Despite the controversy that exists ONLY among the followers of WJJ Hoge III, I have Parkinson’s disease. I was diagnosed in 2000. Teams of doctors have examined me, teams of neurologists have studied me, physical and occupational therapists have worked with me and they all agree. I have advanced stage Parkinson’s disease. I don’t have the tremor-predominant variety. I have the postural instability, gait disturbance subset. And I am suffering deficits in my short term memory and executive functioning.
Does any of that make me less of a citizen?
I no longer drive. It is my choice. Despite exercise and taking more of an active role in my own care after my wife died, the disease has progressed to the point where it has erased the advances I made in my physical condition. I can walk short distances, slowly. I lose balance easily. I cannot sit for extended times without laying down. The fact that a very few morons who follow the lead of WJJ Hoge III does not alter the fact that I live in pain 24 hours a day.
Congress passed a law in the 1990s to protect people with disabilities from people like Hoge and his followers who would take advantage of them. It’s the Americans with Disabilities Act. Title II, specifically, deals with state and local government agencies. It’s not just an employment law. The law requires public facilities, like courts, to make reasonable accommodations to people like me with disabilities.
The fact that we have already had three hearings in this case, two via Skype and one via telephone, proves that my requests are not overly burdensome. But this time, the judge ordered me to appear in person because Hoge says I broke a law during our most recent Skype hearing. He’s not clear on what law I broke, other than I broke it. Because Hoge claims I broke a law, the Judge is set to take away my right as a disabled person for a reasonable accommodation.
Which of your rights as a citizen of the United States are you willing to surrender, just because Hoge told a judge to take that right from you?
I have two motions before the judge that I will share with you during this show. Neither has received a response. I did not make travel arrangements to go to Westminster because I am an American Citizen with a Disability and I am NOT PREPARED TO SURRENDER MY RIGHTS UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT.
To the Hoge readers calling for my blood… the readers who have no skin in this game whatsoever, other than the hope that at long last they will finally see me hauled off to jail, the fact that they WANT me to undergo the physical pain of having to travel to Westminster, they WANT me to suffer, to them, I DESERVE to suffer for some reason they’re never quite clear about…
Which of your civil rights are you willing to hand over because Hoge told you to?
Your right to vote? If Hoge tells a judge you voted incorrectly will you allow a judge to tell you you cannot vote?
Your right to attend or not attend the church, synagogue, mosque or house of worship of your choice? Hoge told a judge you violated some law by attending a worship service. Are you going to stay away from your worship because a judge listened to Hoge without letting you defend yourself?
Your right to free speech? Hoge tells a judge you put an at sign in front of his name, even though he didn’t want you to. Putting an at sign in front of someone’s Twitter handle is not illegal. But Hoge told a judge it is. So, are you going to give up your right to use Twitter because Hoge told a judge to tell you to do so?
How much do you value your rights? How much do you value your citizenship?
Do you value your rights enough to fight for them? I do. And that’s what I am doing.
I will not be in Westminster tomorrow. I have spoken to a clerk in Judge Hecker’s office and explained my reasons. She will pass those on to the Judge. They can still agree to contact me on Skype or telephone tomorrow where I will be able to exercise my rights under the ADA to utilize the services of the court through a reasonable accommodation. An accommodation we’ve already used three times.
Or, he can ignore my rights. Judges do that sometimes. That’s why the ADA contains provisions allowing a disabled person to sue the Judge for equitable and declaratory relief, and the state the judge is employed by for monetary damages.
If the judge allows me to participate in tomorrow’s hearing, I will abide by whatever ruling is made. But Hoge doesn’t want me to participate. He knows what will happen if I do. He will be made a fool of, once again.
If the judge does not allow me to participate, I will avail myself of the remedies available to me as a disabled citizen of the United States of America.