What Biden Winning the Election Means to Me as a Deaf Mom
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I got the news from a friend via text. The AP had finally called the election for Biden. I broke down in happy tears while my kids jumped for joy. I didn’t fully realize the emotional weight of the last four years until that text, when I felt such immense relief. You see, I am deaf. I am deaf and wear two hearing aids and I am married to a phenomenal man who dedicates his life to helping pediatric patients as a physician. He also has a speech impediment that, more often than not, serves as a bridge of connection between him and his patients who are often from under-privileged and under-served communities. We’re both proud of our disabilities as they have helped to shape the strong and caring people we are today. We are proud of what we have accomplished professionally and in our personal lives, including our three children. One of those beautiful kids of ours has a speech impediment and ADHD as well.
Seeing Trump mock a reporter with a disability years ago on the campaign trail was abhorrent and a sign of things to come with the country. That moment should have spelled the end of his political aspirations. The fact that it didn’t has made me wonder over the years. Wonder if those who voted for him think of me, or my husband, or my daughter with the same vitriol and mockery. It made me question my family members who voted for Trump. How could they feel it was fine to support a man who so obviously showed his disdain for disabled people? Did they not have a moral compass? Did they forget their daughter, niece, granddaughter has a disability too?
In the hours after the AP called the election, one of the newscasters for CNN said that it was easier to be a parent with Biden’s win. To tell your children that character matters. I agree. As parents, we have always taught our children that character counts, that kindness matters. That to bully and bash someone for being different than them is inherently wrong. It has been harder as a parent these last four years to try to teach those qualities when the highest elected official in the country engages in bullying behavior.
Hopefully Biden winning the election will mark the beginning of a return to civility and respect, and a country where fellow Americans are not mocked and degraded for being different. A return to reason and a healthy respect for science. It is going to be a long road to recovery and unity, but I am hopeful for the future and that is something that has been missing the last four years. And with hope, anything is possible.