Thursday, March 06, 2003


To: The Rittenhouse Review
From: Annie Cataldo
Date: March 6, 2003

Yes, in response to your recent question, disabled Americans face discrimination daily, and they have one hell of a case to prove when they do.

I have permanently dislocated joints. My past employers did not want to spend a dime extra to accommodate me, unless I complained and mentioned the provisions of the Americans with Discrimination Act.

I have had to specifically ask for "anti-fatigue" rubber mats to stand on in laboratories where I have worked. I once worked as a federal contractor in an office that would not provide me with a chair needed for my degenerated disks, and I was assigned to work in a cold hallway. But it was a job -- with health benefits. How many choices do I have?

And I have been cursed and glared at often as I park in disabled parking spaces. Although I am disabled, it doesn't appear that way to the casual observer, in part because I'm not in a wheelchair. All too often at my last job I would find culprits in the disabled parking spaces, and management did nothing after three complaints. I had to quit.

I have had to quit jobs that would not accommodate my needs. But try proving their lack of cooperation with their employees' needs, let alone their lack of compliance with ADA. Most employees will tolerate their bosses' discriminatory attitudes so as not to "stir the pot." Besides, one doesn't receive unemployment benefits when one quits a job.

The disabled don't get many breaks in the real world. And I find it quite telling that we live in a nation where the only people to have guaranteed medical service are prisoners. Try being a disabled woman in Oregon, which I've begun calling the "Mississippi of the West."

This is definitely a silent form of discrimination. It's hard for disabled people even to tell their employers they are disabled, a reluctance I have experienced in the past, though thankfully I still have the right of privacy.

Thanks for bringing up this discussion.

Annie Cataldo
Hood River, Ore.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


To: The Rittenhouse Review
From: Mark Gibbens
Date: March 4, 2003

Thanks for the Lysistrata excerpts. You've prompted me to read the whole thing once I have time.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any commentary here or elsewhere on the irony inherent in the play, whether Aristophanes intended it or not. It is, of course, pure escapist fantasy. Nothing and no one ever succeeded in stopping the Peloponnesian War, which dragged on for 30 years or so for no good reason, with ultimately catastrophic results for both protagonists.

I hate to see the opportunity lost for a good lesson on the folly of war, with a special emphasis on its unexpected consequences.

Mark Gibbens