Over here disabled people have almost no support from the mainstream in fighting the cuts that will ultimately result in more people being incarcerated in these places. The media campaign decrying all disabled people as faking scroungers being so pervasive; people are even less likely to stand alongside us than they ever were.
Not so in America.
Today ER star Noah Wyle has been arrested at a disability rights protest in DC organised by ADAPT. They're fighting the proposed cuts to Medicaid; the scheme that funds independent living over there.
Wyle is the second ER star to be arrested for protesting in recent weeks. Last month George Clooney was arrested protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in DC. Does anyone have Alex Kingston's number? I ask purely for activism purposes, obviously... *innocent face*
It's both exciting and saddening. Exciting that a Hollywood star is willing to stand up for disabled people's basic right to live outside of an institution. But saddening because you can guarantee that it'd never happen over here.
Edit 24/04/12: Here's a brilliant interview with Wyle in which he explains that: "To institutionalize a disabled American costs four times as much than to give assistance for independent living."
It's the same story here, of course. Disability Rights UK have carried out an impact assessment of the cuts to DLA and found that the costs of cutting the benefit will wipe out any planned savings.