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Why I'm Boycotting Trump's Inauguration as an American With a Disability

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On Friday, January 20 Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, and I will not be watching. Personally, this was a hard choice for me, as I love history and have fond memories of watching President Obama being sworn in on a snowy January day. However, this time is different; this time, it’s personal.

I stood idle as Mr. Trump attacked opponent after opponent in the primary, and as he insulted opponent after opponent on Twitter. I listened as he insulted Carly Fiorina’s looks in a Rolling Stone interview, then as he lambasted Megyn Kelly after she asked a question he did not like. Then, I watched as Mr. Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, an award winning reporter for The New Times, who happens to have a disability. I knew then that I could no longer stay silent, that I could no longer be counted as merely an observer to Mr. Trump’s unrelenting cruelty and meanness. I wrote Mr. Trump a letter asking him to apologize, which was shared over 30,000 times. However to this day, Mr. Trump has not apologized and denies he has done anything wrong.

Mr. Trump, my whole life I have fought to prove that I am just as capable as any of my peers, and that I too deserve a seat at the table. You see, I have cerebral palsy, a disability which makes my hamstrings tight and causes me to walk with a slight limp. My whole life, I’ve felt like I’ve been looked over simply because I am different. People look at how I walk, and decide they are scared of different, that they want “normal,” whatever that means.

Now that I am 19 years old, I am thankful for my disability. I am thankful for the lessons it has taught me, how it’s made me a better person. I would not wish for a life without CP, even though it would be easier.

Mr. Trump, I wish you all the best in your Presidency. But when you mocked Serge, you mocked me. I will not be watching your speech, as you have insulted me and the millions of other Americans with disabilities.

I hope you can unify this divided country, and that your speech gets the ratings it deserves.

Brooks Fitts

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Originally published: January 19, 2017
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