Register online to become a PARTY OF GRACE voter.   |   FACEBOOK GROUP (started Jan 2017)   |   TWITTER   |   EMAIL BILLY


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with children who lived at a Warm Springs GA foundation he funded for disabled kids

One meaning of A.D.A.

    Thursday, January 18, 2018 -- (Long Beach, CA) -- A man who now spends each day in a wheelchair gave true definition of what just two letters can mean in challenged times.

    After Democrats and Republicans came together for passage of a major federal law, final action fell to President George Herbert Walker Bush, who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, now known simply as the ADA.

    When Congress builds a massive law, there is always something wrong about the final legislation. The signature of America’s 41st president changed life for millions, but it still took follow-up legislation to fix problems with the ADA.

    So called “fix-it” legislation is why big laws need support across the aisle, because when a huge act passes, the government gives life to a monster, sort of like Doctor Frankenstein did when a novel and films showed a character rise from the dead. Who could see Frankenstein’s beast as anything but a monster, if there is a bolt slammed into its head?

    The Americans with Disabilities Act carried in the Congress due to nearly universal support, because while the law was massive in aspiration, its determination was to give true abilities for ordinary Americans to pursue -- as close as they could -- ordinary lives.

    Tweaks in the law were met by continued bipartisan action, and the ADA may be the last time in which both sides came together for anything in durable agreement. The ADA wasn’t the first huge law, and it wasn’t the biggest, but it has been in place for 25 years.

    Mr. Bush himself is now each day in a wheelchair, as was Franklin Roosevelt while he served as President. One’s true meaning is not best when defined by what you cannot do, but instead what you never give up pursuing. “Aspiration” and “Determination” meet with “Ability” as one possible meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Because no soul is perfect, neither is a nation. This imperfect Union often fell onto our collective knees/ Thankfully, the aspiration of the American people to aspire to true greatness lifted us from our self-imposed sorrow.

    Shall we wage a “War on Cancer,” as Richard Nixon declared in 1973? Certainly, the man known as a crook and the only president to resign was absolutely imperfect, yet none the less accurate when he said that, “If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.” His failings were immense, but for more than 40 years, our government has shown determination and poured all ability within its reach into the aspiration of helping ordinary Americans battle life’s greatest medical challenge.

    If challenging cancer and creating the Environmental Protection Agency, and passage of the Clean Air and Clear Water acts are worthy of bipartisan agreement, then perhaps we can acknowledge that even a deeply failed soul nonetheless stood for something.

    More difficult would be times when great leaders may have turned their back, or, worse, shaken hands with the Devil simply to gain power.

    Shall we overcome deep division of racial tension, asked Americans with feet tired by marching, but souls lifted when equality arrived?

    Perhaps the current president is turning his back, but this nation can thank another broken soul -- Lyndon Johnson, of south Texas -- for loving the American people... all of them.

    In our nation’s first century, open racial tension tore us apart, until a rebellion sliced our Union in two. Following a bloody victory, the newly-born Grand Old Party itself maintained division, by “reconstruction” of our imperfect Union by again swinging of a heavy hand. The one soul ready to reunite us lay slain by hatred.

    The only things that delivered agreement and moved our nation to true greatness were economic, like building roads and laying track and the emergence of public utilities and communication. Even when we won wars, divided quickly returned, and liberty and justice were not for all.

    After decades of division, Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to office, in 1933, by reshaping politics as we knew it. We faced not only a collapsed economy, but ongoing division over race. In order to repair the economy and give certainty to ordinary Americans, massive programs such as Social Security passed in massive support within Congress.

    But to redraw the political map, Mr. Roosevelt shook hands with the Devil. He expanded the Democratic party, drawing Black voters away from Mr. Lincoln’s Grand Old Party. Yet the lack of meaningful liberty allowed conservatives to also back Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” FDR’s agreement meant he turned his back on racism, to gain conservative support for Social Security and jobs and granting rights to unions.

    The New Deal saveed ordinary Americans of all color from an economic collapsed in a Great Depression. And even though his wheelchair was in an elegant office, the disabled president had still shaken hands with the Devil to hold power. That discomfort sent Mr. Roosevelt into a hidden effort to once again reshape American politics.

    Mr. Roosevelt -- a rich man from New York -- had abandoned the super-rich in 1933, so as to instead back ordinary Americans through massive government legislation, taxes and spending. Passage of such massive changes sent a wheelchair across a narrow tightrope. To change who would hold power, Mr. Roosevelt wanted to ditch southern conservatives and instead reach a deal with old-family rich. The Devil’s shackles of hatred would be traded.

    Franklin Roosevelt held talks with Wendel Wilkie, a rich Republican who ran against Roosevelt in 1940. Come on board with the Democrats, said FDR, and the old-family rich can get richer. The aspiration to reshape American politics through dogged determination simply lacked the ability to take the rich away from the Republican party. To stay in power, he watched the Devil smile.

    It was not because Mr. Roosevelt sat in a wheelchair that he could not bring over a new base of support for the Democratic party. The inability to unchain America from the Devil’s shackles meant that either he would give up major legislation, or let go of true equality.

    One generation later, as Blacks marched with non-violence in the true greatness of American heroism, guns and clubs hammered them down.

    Would a young President from Massachusetts -- John Kennedy -- do something... anything... to deliver liberty for all?

    Sadly, Americans again lost a gracious soul to the bullets of hate, when Mr. Kennedy -- like Mr. Lincoln -- lay slain.

    Like all souls, the young president was imperfect, and while he spoke passionately of fairness, his did little to push justice forward. Major civil rights legislation was sent to Congress, but southern conservative Democrats stalled the new president by choking bills in committee.

    The aspiration for dogged determination to end racial segregation fell to a white southern Democrat, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, of Texas, who took the Oval Office only when bullets killed Mr. Kennedy. No one thought that Lyndon Johnson would push any meaningful act to confront our deepest division.

    Yet the new president stepped forward with massive legislation to reshape America with an expansion of the “New Deal” that aimed to help the poor, regardless of color, for what he called, the “Great Society.” The Devil’s shackles, however, again stalled much of his aspirations.

    Bringing liberty and justice to all came into being when a kind gentleman who loved the marigold, and served as the Minority Leader of the Senate -- Everett Dirksen, of Illinois -- deliver enough Republican support that Mr. Johnson successfully passed the “Civil Rights Act,” of 1964. Because the massive changes felt like Frankenstein’s monster to many, the only way to pull a bolt from the beast would be “fix-it” legislation to tweak the law.

    No one expected the man from Texas with a thick southern drawl would have the ability to break the chains that held down even Franklin Roosevelt, but Mr. Johnson was dogged and in his absolute determination, he tell the nation, “We shall overcome.”

    That following year, in 1965, marchers again sought sweeping change, this time over who would be able to vote. Marchers were violently beaten by police on horseback while crossing the Edmund Pettus bridge, outside of Selma, Alabama. Television coverage shocked ordinary Americans, as blood dripped due to raw hatred.

    As Lyndon Johnson kept his eyes on the prize, he shared determination with Mr. Dirkson, who kept his promise to give needed votes across the aisle for the “Voting Rights Act,” of 1965, sweeping legislation that changed American politics forever.

    Because each soul is imperfect, as is our imperfect Union, hatred is not a crime. Indeed, the Republican president who sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to walk kids into school, told the American people that, “We cannot legislate the human heart.”

    But the Devil is in the details, as when Mr. Nixon leverage a “southern strategy” to capture social conservatives by spitting hate while carefully navigating race in 1968. While people of deep faith are not owned by the Devil’s chains of hate, the details are put aside.

    Even party can mean little to souls of deep faith, as a man named Jimmy Carter won religious votes, because his dogged determination to show fidelity to God was unquestionable.

    So while Mr. Nixon waged war against cancer and Mr. Reagan called on our foe to tear down a wall, it was the “Americans with Disabilities Act,” of 1991, that showed what Americans can do by working together. Certainly, it is not the largest law signed by a President, but the ADA is perhaps the last time that we marched through doggedly bipartisan determination to deliver a major law.

    The election of a Black man as presidency -- an amazing act unto itself -- also was shackled, not by shaking hands with the Devil, but seeking to push forward massive changes without a single vote cast from the other side. With no aspiration by both parties to work together, there was no ability to pull the bolt off of Frankenstein’s monster.

A PERSONAL COMMENT OF ADA...

    After getting the heart and brain sliced open, the letters of “ADA” carry different definition for a soul reborn.

    A = “Aspiration,” to survive.
    D = “Determination,” to never give up.
    A = “Ability,” measured by ongoing self-assessment.

    Everyone faces hard times, but shackles literally held this patient onto a hospital bed, when doctors needed to stop a troubled soul pulling the needles away from the wrist.

    While hobbling in the stroke ward, the first words of any meaning were an instruction, to, “Let go of selfishness and arrogance.” Just before leaving the hospital came, “humble messenger.”

    I must be humble.

    But “aspiration,” “determination” and “ability” are three simple words that came today, when riding a bicycle on a beautiful warm winter’s day.

    So by an act of self-assessment, this humble messenger thanks President George Herbert Walker Bush for dogged determination to liberate ordinary Americans who otherwise would be shackled in an invisible prison.

-- Billy Orton






S   A   V   I   N   G       A   M   E   R   I   C   A


Armistice Day 2018    And yet exactly one century later.... The President didn't show up FB     Grace
Election Day 2018    Laughter smacked down early on Election Day FB     Grace
October 29, 2018    Hatred evaporates a Grand Old Party FB     Grace
October 22, 2018    ‘Saving Lewis and Clark’ isn’t on CBS without lottery money FB     Grace
October 20, 2018    God knows who wins, for, “It’s not over, Til it’s over..., Over There.” FB     Grace
October 16, 2018    Ten absurd promises to America FB     Grace
October 16, 2018    Will a GOP evaporation spark a ‘stable genius’ to fulfill an absurd prediction? FB     Grace
October 14, 2018    Know what’s crazy, to not be insane FB     Grace
October 13, 2018    Can Americans ever smile again? FB     Grace
October 11, 2018    The Grand Old Party is evaporating FB     Grace
October 9, 2018    The snowflake’s chance in Hell FB     Grace
October 6, 2018    Convict the President in the ‘Court of Public Opinion’ by throwing out the bums FB     Grace
September 26, 2018    Let “post gender” fiction take the prize FB     Grace
September 24, 2018    Dick Bomber ain't just fiction FB     Grace
September 22, 2018    When Mr. Putin seizes the vacuum FB     Grace
September 18, 2018    Will ‘Angel Baby’ make Americans laugh again FB     Grace
August 29, 2018    Vladimir Putin’s warm-water lust FB     Grace
August 28, 2018    Oust the President and save America FB     Grace
August 22, 2018    The most absurd political prediction you’ll ever read FB     Grace
August 20, 2018    Shockingly, Party of Grace not slapped down for sharing literature FB     Grace
Bastille Day 2018    France and Europe wonders what the future may hold FB     Grace
July 4, 2018    Can Americans keep hold of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?' FB     Grace
May 17, 2018    How can Americans dance together again? FB     Grace
March 1, 2018    The Universal Truth of Time FB     Grace
February 15, 2018    Go, Washington Fat Cats! FB     Grace
February 8, 2018    When the Commander-in-Chief orders more then a military parade FB     Grace
February 6, 2018    Jerry Brown’s true act of grace is "Ronald Reagan Day" FB     Grace
February 5, 2018    Will God stand beside her, if hatred guides her? FB     Grace
January 31, 2018    Who shall smile, when Russia fires brimstone upon North Korea? FB     Grace
January 30, 2018    What is the State of our imperfect Union? FB     Grace
January 29, 2018    ‘We are all equal in the eyes of God,’ said Mr. Reagan FB     Grace
January 28, 2018    Does America still have a Confessor-in-Chief? FB     Grace
January 26, 2018    Not ‘that’ Animal Farm, but -t-h-e- Animal Farm FB     Grace
January 24, 2018    Thugs, lackeys, hacks, apparatchnik, and the Apprentice versus Members of Congress FB     Grace
January 22, 2018    The President will soon announce that Grace belongs to him FB     Grace
January 21, 2018    The imperfection of the human soul FB     Grace
January 20, 2018    When leaders learn from “sh_t-hole” nations FB     Grace
January 18, 2018    One meaning of A.D.A. FB     Grace
January 16, 2018    An Oasis and the Fires of Hell FB     Grace
January 14, 2018    Who shall rise from a Party of Grace? FB     Grace
January 12, 2018    Perhaps Water, Soil and Coffee are God's Greatest Gifts FB     Grace
January 11, 2018    Let Dr. King’s Two-or-Ten show the true meaning of love FB     Grace
January 10, 2018    Will dancing veterans make America smile again? FB     Grace
January 10, 2018    When you lie to farmers, someone will ‘Give ‘em Hell’ FB     Grace
January 6, 2018    'Fire and brimstone burn all souls' FB     Grace
January 5, 2018    (A dream) -- The Pyramid and the Ring FB     Grace
January 4, 2018    A soul slain like a sacrificial lamb FB     Grace
January 1, 2018    Lemonade Park, America FB     Grace
December 21, 2017    Obscure novelist to be first candidate for Party of Grace FB     Grace
October 6, 2017    ‘Hurricane Donald’ and the rising waters of hate FB     Grace
July 18, 2017    Ronald Reagan still rises from the dust FB     Grace
July 6, 2017    A minor Party of Grace versus the major Inempt and Beholden parties FB     Grace
June 26, 2017    Love the people, and they will love you FB     Grace
June 25, 2017    America’s smallest working barn offers a July 4th reviv’ul mtg with Thai food and fireworks FB     Grace
June 18, 2017    Three fathers construct America’s smallest working barn FB     Grace
June 15, 2017    Party of Grace throwing Independence Day barn dance to help save America from hate FB     Grace



V   O   T   I   N   G       I   N   F   O   R   M   A   T   I   O   N


ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION
California lets you vote for anyone, no matter your party.

How to Contact Elected Officials
Do you want to tell some politician how you feel?

Voting & Elections
This shows elections in Los Angeles County

Find My District
Who represents you... at EVERY level of government?

Find your Polling Place
If you want to vote in person.

Vote by Mail
You can vote by mail instead of going to the polling place.




Billy Orton is a novelist and historian living in Long Beach, California.