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When People Dismiss My Fear of Losing Disability Services Under a Trump Presidency

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I have had to defend myself for what seems like all day over my hesitation about the future. I just want to state my case and be done with the election conversations for a while.

I am a person, first of all. I’m someone’s sister, daughter, niece, aunty and someone’s special somebody. I am not a leech or drain on resources. I appreciate all the help/resources I have been given by all the taxpayers, middle class etc. I know that my health care has been paid for on the backs of others, and don’t need to be reminded. I know also that my driving lessons and Associate’s Degree were paid for by people I will never have a chance to thank.

I truly tried to contribute in a wage-earning way to society. I went on interview after interview, but the door was constantly slammed in my face. I finally found a job (not in my field of study) but a job just the same, but my body told me “no” after only 90 days. Many of us with disabilities who don’t work would give anything to be even considered one of the working poor, let alone middle class.

The health care I receive is desperately needed, and I wouldn’t be here without it. I am trying and will continue to try to fix the things in me that are “changeable with hard work.” If I can get rid of some of these medical expenses by changing what I can to be healthier, I will do it. We aren’t sponges sucking America dry while we sit at home on our butts feeling sorry for ourselves. We are American citizens and deserve the same rights and respect as anyone else.

When I first moved out on my own, I didn’t have all the resources I have now. My first place didn’t even have a ramp to my front door. I have never once had to go live back home. I fought hard to live independently like the rest of my able-bodied classmates who were spreading their wings and leaving the nest. As my body aged, I needed more help and found out what was out there to make life a little less hard and painful. I can’t and won’t apologize for the need for more and different assistance as my body has aged and complications from surgeries made more assistance necessary.

We as disabled citizens are a unique group of the population. One of the major fears I’ve seen is that funding could be cut from programs that assist us with daily living skills. Imagine having decades of independence being taken away with the swipe of a pen. Imagine that someone who has never met you does a cost/benefit analysis of all the programs you receive help from and the cost to the taxpayers for you to stay at home versus institutionalization. That’s a very scary thought for most of us with disabilities and those who love us.

I want to be in control of my own destiny. I have had to prove to others my fitness to be able to live independently before, so please don’t say it can’t or won’t happen. I have a hard time believing in a president who seems to think it’s OK to openly mock his citizens for things we have no control over, whether it be disabilities, sexual orientation, race, etc. I would gladly give back all the money and services I receive from the government if I had a body that did what I asked it to do without excruciating pain.

I am grateful for what I have, and I know there are people are worse off than I am. Please think before you speak. Ask yourself: if the person you’re mocking or demeaning was instead one of your loved ones, would you want them to be treated like that? Don’t mock a person’s fears until you’ve walked in their shoes.

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Originally published: November 12, 2016
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