Last night I watched an episode of Penn & Teller's Bull****!, criticizing the Americans with Disabilities act. Before watching it, I was pretty sure I was going to disagree with them, but they really did have some good points.
The ADA is the law that mandates that all businesses are "Handicap Acessable". This basically means that you have to:
* Have a certain number of handicap parking spaces, that number is decided based on size and location.
* If you have a water fountain, you need to install a second on that is low enough to be reached by someone in a wheelchair.
* Doorknobs must be designed so that they can be pushed/pulled open (Traditional round doorknobs are illegal in all US businesses).
* All public buildings that are elevated and have steps must also be equipt with ramps, and in some cases, wheelchair elevators.
* Busses in many cities must be equipt with wheelchair elevators.
This causes businesses to have to redesign their property. Even if they follow these laws, they can be sued rather easily if anything in the business is not 100% handicap friendly.
It also has negative consequences for handicapped citizens. They are given less respect because they are legally classified as less capable than everyone else. They also may have trouble getting a job, not because their employer doesn't like handicaped employees, but because a handicapped employee could be a serious risk since they have the power of the ADA behind them.
After seeing that, I really don't see why we have the ADA. As mentioned in the show, "Why do we need government mandated compassion?" There were plenty of accomidations for handicapped people before the act was passed in 1990, because it was good for business. The act simply enforces unnecesary restrictions on businesses in an attempt to bring "equality" to handicapped people, forgetting that it is pretty much impossible.
I can understand curbing discrimination, but pushing for complete equality seems ignorant. If someone is paralyzed from the neck down, they are never going to be capable of doing everything a completely healthy person is capable of. Passing laws to try to make it that way is only going to cause more problems.