I would be lying if I didn’t say that I left Thursday's class a bit frustrated.
I feel like when I am talking I am not being clear or understood. So this blog will be an attempt to clarify what I was saying. For better or for worse.
In essence ,if disability is connected to frailty, decreased cognitive ability , functionality and productivity as well as femininity, this book highlights the ways in which FDR needed to shift the overarching power of a the disability narrative to show that he was different. In that respect, he had to understand the ways the tropes affected him and could have been rendered powerless and actively sought ways to regain that power. These were not his words, but definitely can be seen in his actions. I am not professing to know whether or not he was conscious or critical enough in his earlier years, to know whether his actions were a direct understanding of his identity as a disabled male or if he identified as polio survivor. But he did not disrupt society's understanding of people who contracted Polio, mainly because his coming to power was his trajectory and a carefully thought out one. He often used the same ideas that he was trying to combat for his own identity towards his opponents and when objectifying other countries. In this way I thought the book met its goals. What I wish it was more critical of, is the way in which the hierarchy that exists within disability identity, worked toward his favor. They talk about is as great rhetorical skills and say it contributed to his ultimate connection with the nation. But as much as the walking to the podium served to combat the narrative of Hoover ‘s who hoped the American people would see him as to frail to lead , the body politics did not allow for a more powerful and deeper rooted feeling about those who had feeble minds. And what his rhetorical skills communicated to the people was that his mind was essentially intact, therefore the openness to be able to consider him as a leader was increased exponentially. The fear and powerlessness of those who were deemed cognitive disabled as a result of their physical disability in the minds of those who are physically able bodied still exists. What continues to reenter to those with physical disabilities is if their ability to communicate in a way that is acceptable by the status quo remains intact.
I hope that was a bit clearer.