To the 2020 Presidential Candidates, From a Voter With a Disability
Dear 2020 candidates for President of the United States,
The 2020 Presidential election is still a ways away, yet a plethora of you are hoping to take on President Donald Trump and are currently vying for airtime and a seat at the table. There has been much made about policy ideas and political stances you all hold on specific issues; however, one major issue has been primarily left untouched: disability rights and what the next potential Democratic administration’s policies would look like for individuals with disabilities.
The latest figures show that 61 million Americans have a disability, and only 19.1 percent are employed, compared with 65.9 percent of the general population. Disabled people are people too. They have the same hopes, fears, dreams and desires as anyone else. It may be a little harder for us to take a seat at the table, yet I can assure every one of you running for President that we want to have a seat at the table. You are running to be our President too.
Presidential candidates should actively talk about and raise awareness of the plethora of issues those in the disability community face. You all should speak to us, get to know our stories, our hopes, our fears and our struggles. I believe America is at its best when everyone has a chance to contribute to his or her God-given potential. So this election, please don’t use us as mere photo props or as another talking point.
I challenge you to see us. I challenge each of you to look past our disability and see us for the human beings we are. And as you do so, you will start to realize that we aren’t much different from you. We may have individual struggles that you will never entirely be able to comprehend, and that’s OK. All we ask is that you make a full-hearted effort to both hear us and know us. You’ll be glad you did, and I can promise you’ll learn something new too.
Getty image by Liveslow.