Trump’s mocking insults have aggressive undertones for people with disabilities — and that’s a frightening thing
When Donald Trump mocked a reporter with a disability, and when it came out that he called a deaf woman “retarded,” it caused a lot of uproar in the disability community. We are all-too-often made fun of and bullied, teased and ridiculed for things that are vital to our identity – and that we can’t control. It hits self-esteem, creates isolation, and leads to cycles of depression, poverty and more. When bullies belittle people with disabilities, it hits those people directly; when bullies do it in front of a whole group, it hurts that much more; and when a bully is made a leader, and does it in public, it gives a thumbs-up to other bullies and kick starts the cycle (which we are already seeing nationwide, for many communities).
So when Donald Trump, a candidate for president, mocked people with disabilities in public and private, our community and our allies were angry. But to be honest, I’m more than angry. I’m scared – and scared of what a Donald Trump presidency will look like for me and my friends.
He Is Saying We Are Worthless
The entire prospect of a Donald Trump presidency means more than bullying for people with disabilities. That’s because there is an implicit suggestion when Trump flails his limbs or says “retarded” — he is also saying that we are worthless, outcasts, and OK to be abandoned. If we can’t pull ourselves up and do things as well as a nondisabled person can, “well tough luck and get out the way.” This is textbook ableism, and it would lead to discrimination in all aspects of life: employment, physical access, healthcare, government services, and more.
Employers refusing reasonable accommodation? Check. Repealing ADA access because it’s “burdensome on business?” Check. And social services being slashed first because, well, right wing conservatism? Check. Our community has fought for decades to win rights around all of these issues, but they are in danger of being torn right away come January 2017 if the election goes the wrong way.