The right thing [Editorial]

Every once in a while, a government delivers a surprise by doing something that needed doing.

In Aberdeen, a new ramp has been built in front of the Post Office, making it accessible to all. For far too long, the Aberdeen Post Office has needed at least a renovation, if not a complete redo. But before any of that should have been done, at the bare minimum it needed a ramp to give people with disabilities access to the post office.

Aberdeen people have been advocating for the ramp for a long time. But the United States Postal Service held fast to its position that limited finances made it impossible to build even a simple ramp.

“It’s taken many years of activism,” Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady said about the efforts that finally paid off with the new ramp. “Not by me; the city has been needing this for a long time. I’m glad to be a part of getting to where people recognized the problem and were willing to devote the resources to getting it fixed.”

The Americans With Disabilities Act was passed and signed into law by President George H.W Bush in 1990. It made it the law of the land that buildings needed to be built or retrofitted in ways that would make them accessible to all. The ADA law, as it became to be known, exempted government buildings from the same requirements placed on all others.

That’s how the United States Postal Service got away with not making its Aberdeen facility accessible to all long after the rest of the country’s non-government facilities had been required to make their buildings ADA compliant.

An exemption from doing the right thing is really little excuse not to do the right thing.

In Aberdeen, there were people who not only believed that, but also were determined to keep the pressure on the Postal Service until they acquiesced and did the right thing.

The right thing to do in this case, that’s decades overdue, is the new ramp in front of the Aberdeen Post Office.

It’s shameful that it took so many years and the relentless advocacy of a small group of people in Aberdeen to pressure the Postal Service to get a ramp built. McGrady started working on this project before he was elected and kept pushing for it after he became mayor. We know he isn’t the only person in Aberdeen deserving of credit, but we single him out as representative of the good that government can do when the people demand it.

That’s an example we want to point out – government should work to fix things that are broken while leaving alone those that aren’t.

In Aberdeen recently, there are obvious examples of each and we encourage city officials to concentrate on the things in need of repair, not the things that are well enough left alone.

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