Please Don't Exclude People With Disabilities From Trump's List of Degradation
There were many things that made me sad on Wednesday: the fact that so many people voted for Donald Trump, him becoming the president-elect, and, ironically, the “Never Trumps” on my Facebook feed who commented on his racism, misogyny and religious intolerance.
Wait a minute. Aren’t you missing something? Yes, he has demonstrated all those prejudices. But where are the comments about ableism?
One of the main examples of crudeness used against him in the campaign was his mockery of Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with a disability. Yet today, the mind space dedicated to removing barriers for people with disabilities and including them have returned to a minimum.
While the hand gestures Trump used when referring to the New York Times reporter are more ambiguous and thus arguably more defensible than Trump’s gloating about grabbing women by the genitals or calling Mexicans rapists, there is nothing ambiguous about his response to the accusation that he mocked Kovaleski:
“I spend millions a year, or millions of dollars on ramps, and get rid of the stairs and different kinds of elevators all over and I’m gonna mock? I would never do that,” he said.
Making facilities accessible is not altruistic, as Trump suggests. It’s recognizing people’s rights. It’s the law. In fact, the same law he has been sued over multiple times, according to the Huffington Post. Three sources told the Daily Beast that Trump called “Celebrity Apprentice runner-up and Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin the R-word because she is Deaf.
I’m at a loss as to how the people who call out Trump for his exclusiveness often exclude his, at best, patronization of people with disabilities and, at worst, his crude mockery of disability.
With two months to go in President Obama’s term, the unemployment rate among people with disabilities remains astronomical. It remains legal to pay people with disabilities subminimum wage, and inaccessibility remains prevalent.
For the people who are concerned, disturbed, angered, saddened that a man who has demonstrated abhorrent examples of intolerance is the president-elect, please don’t forget about people with disabilities. Please don’t forget about me.
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Photo by Gage Skidmore