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Accommodation Nation
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The Spectator
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 by Laramie Boyd
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        I'm sure there are certain groups of people in our country that we could agree deserve to be accommodated in certain circumstances, to not be discriminated against, to have exceptions made for them. Some of the groups that come to mind include handicapped parking passes for the crippled, books in braille for the blind, earphones for the hard of hearing at theaters and plays. Few would argue strenuously against these adjustments for the comfort of the handicapped. In the field of education, often teachers are asked to do special reading aloud for a select few hard of hearing pupils, extending time allowed for assignment completion and taking of exams for "special" learning ability students. But there is a gray area for who should and who shouldn't be treated with special treatment based on their particular situation. Should an applicant for a job be hired before a more qualified applicant just because they are of a certain race? Should two people be allowed to get "married", with all the benefits thereof, just because they are homosexual or lesbian and happen to be the same sex? Should golfers be allowed to join Private Male Country Clubs simply because they are women and feel discriminated against?
        How far should this country go in accommodating, in what some call giving "special favors?" Esther J. Cepeda , a Washington Post columnist, has a thought on the subject. For example, in Tempe, Arizona, a housing complex was designed especially for deaf and hard of hearing senior citizens. Good idea, right? But the complex is under attack because they are "favoring" deaf and hard- of- hearing people over and above people with no hearing disabilities, or in some cases no disabilities at all. In other words, the complex is discriminating against the healthy.
        In another case of accommodation, an Oregon policeman was fired for driving drunk in an unmarked police car while off duty. The officer is suing for $6 million claiming the Police Department violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA, as alcoholism is a disease in the eyes of the ADA. A lawyer for the plaintiff in the case argues that as with any disability or disease, the Police Department should have made some kind of effort to "accommodate" or to "work with", that is give special favors to the drunken officer, instead of simply firing him.
        Esther J. Cepeda believes we are living in an Accommodation Nation where the only people who won't get special favors are those who speak out against the notion that everyone is entitled to special treatment. Sometimes it seems that the courts will uphold almost any argument in favor of a person's right to justify their actions, either in violation of or by simply putting a spin on the spirit of a law.