A Positive Thing about Obama: the Deaf and Closed-Captioning Service

A positive thing about President Obama?  Who in his right mind would say this?  Normally, most conservatives on this site would say no.  And I am a conservative just like most of you are.  However, I am unique among conservatives due to the fact I am Deaf.  I turned conservative just a little over 10 years ago the moment I became a born-again Christian.  But like every other thing in this world, it has both positives and negatives.

Well, I am here to talk about one specific negative in relation to the Deaf and closed-captioning.  I like Redstate, and some other conservative websites as well.  They’re fun to read and quite informative.  I love to read what other conservatives, who are certainly better writers than I am, have to say on a number of important issues pertaining to US and international politics.  But I have to say this: every time a video clip is posted, there is no closed-captioning feature available at all.

Please bear with me for a moment.  Go over to GOP website and look through multimedia stuff, and tell me if there is closed-captioning available on every video clip you can find.  In fact, why don’t you check out House Republican leader John Boehner’s weekly radio address, and see if closed-captioning is provided here.  That’s right, it’s not provided at all.  Now, please hold your nose and click on the Democratic Party’s website, then click on President Obama’s weekly radio address.  Make sure you click on the clip itself, it will open a new window to YouTube.com, which is a larger version of the same weekly radio address, but it provides closed-captioning feature.

Now, do you see the problem here?  As a Deaf person, I must admit that President Obama has just won me over, never mind the fact his ideas and values are all out of alignment with conservative principles.  To be sure, I would never support President Obama in any meaningful way, but stop and think about it.  There is no good estimate of how many deaf and hard of hearing people live in America, but it is probable to say about 1% of US population is part of this category, which translates into about 3 or less million people (for a more in-depth analysis, here is the link).  It is true not all of them are born deaf like me, many become deaf later in their lives.  However, it is safe to say many deaf and hard of hearing people depend on closed-captioning to understand the speeches, dialogs, and sounds on TV, movies, and Internet.

The Democratic Party and President Obama is trying to reach every segment of our society in order to gain numbers and add some to their bases of support.  Can anybody tell me why GOP isn’t doing that?  Please don’t tell me it’s partly due out of ignorance and negligence, I don’t buy it.  There is really no excuse for this kind of thing.  While it is true ancedotically that the deaf and hard of hearing population tend to support Democrats in great numbers, we could make some inroads with this group if we only bothered to listen and provide some services to them.

Look, when I argue with liberal supporters who are Deaf just like me, they often retort that as long Democratic Party provides closed-captioning services and is more receptive to Deaf and hard of hearing issues.  Then what I can say to them?  I can argue with them on economics, military, social programs, and a lot of stuff, but they will always trump me over the issue of who provides the most services, especially in the realm of communicating the ideas or messages to every segment of US population, not just to “normal” and “hearing” people only.

Look, I know, this is probably a minor issue at most, and might not change the thinking of most of the Deaf and hard of hearing people who usually support Democratic Party and President Obama as well.  But if GOP could show it’s on an equal footing with Democrats and demonstrate an equal amount of attention to people like me and others, then perhaps it can also sway some of undecideds over the issue of who is most receptive to the Deaf and hard of hearing concerns.  In fact, I know one Deaf person, a young black man, who routinely votes Republican, but was frustrated by GOP’s inability to provide closed-captioning and other services in its messages.  When President Obama announced he was running for president, at first, this Deaf man was relcutant to support him.  But after checking up on every presidential candidate, he fell in love with President Obama.  Why?  Because President Obama and his team went out of their way to provide services like closed-captioning in every speech he made.  GOP lost this Deaf man’s vote, because it failed to meet his basic requirement — to understand every speech given and anything else that GOP might have wanted to communicate through TV, radio, or Internet.

I’m hoping that Redstate, conservatives, GOP, and well…just about everybody understand this issue, and how communication remains the top tool in reaching out to everyone, no matter who you are or what political beliefs you hold.  Is GOP up to the challenge of accomplishing this task?  I sure hope so.  GOP won’t lose my vote, because while I might feel frustrated, as a born-again Christian, I have to be patient and yearn for a more perfect body, which I shall receive at my death or Rapture.  At least that’s what the Bible teaches, but I can’t say the same thing for other deaf and hard of hearing people who have different views.

Thanks fo reading this lengthy dairy.  Maybe this won’t get a lot of hits, but I feel it’s an important issue that I have to express my feelings in a written dairy.  I know I’m not a great writer, but i hope this dairy gets the message out on the point and…loudly, if I may say so…