Letter to my Representatives on Trump and Confederate Romanticism

With his latest tweets, President Trump openly wraps Confederate romanticism and slavery apologia in a full frontal embrace. Are you with him? If not, establish distance with outspoken condemnation. Subtweets are craven and insufficient.

Many white families are calling out their bigoted members, mine included. This is a time of reckoning with white resentment and grievance. This is a time of reckoning for the politicians those bigoted family members elected.

So, are you with President Trump? Are you with this Nazi sympathizer lost in reverie of a despicable past? With an anguished nation, we watch for your response.

Letter to My Representatives on Charlottesville, Bannon, Gorka, and Miller

Thank you for speaking out on the events in Charlottesville. Our country is grappling for its soul. We are rotting from within. Three of our biggest festering wounds are in the White House. Bannon, Gorka, and Miller are open and avowed bigots who feature prominently in the minds and rhetoric of the Nazis and supremacists we see gathered in Charlottesville. We need only look at sites like Storm Front and the Daily Stormer to see what their presence in the White House and their proximity to POTUS means to these hateful groups. Bannon, Gorka, and Miller share vocabulary, mindset, and goals with these groups. These three men do not belong in the White House. Please use your power and influence to see them dismissed and discredited. This is a necessary act of healing as we mourn the loss of a fellow citizen peacefully exercising her rights and duties. She was run down by someone who saw her as less than human. This mentality of dehumanization is bolstered and metastasized from on high. Remove them before more die.

Letter to My Representatives on Trumpcare #6

A shared refrain in the persecution of disabled and transgender folks by the Trump administration and the GOP is that our bodies are too expensive to care for. Such zero-sum thinking stirs hate and resentment against us. The ableist and bigoted vocabulary of Trumpism hangs a target on the most vulnerable, including my kids.

Our family is a “special needs”, “special ed” family. The term “special” causes a lot of harm. It is an ableist term that fuels segregation and grievance. I see it used against disabled and transgender people by folks who think something is being taken away from them when disability and transgender rights are recognized. Special is used as a dirty word to suggest someone is being treated as more than equal, when in reality special means segregation, societal exclusion, abuse, and inferior services. We in the disability community see this usage all too often. This piece gathers writing on the subject from neurodiversity and disability self-advocates:

https://boren.blog/2017/07/24/the-segregation-of-special/

After POTUS tweeted about transgender folks in the military, I noticed a rise in the use of “special” accompanied by appeals to a perverted notion of equality that erases disabled and transgender people, effectively telling us to shut up and die.

Equality is not when everyone gets the same thing. It’s when everyone gets what they need. Disabled and transgender people aren’t trying to take away anyone’s Medicaid, or anything else; the GOP is.

The GOP is encouraging hateful rhetoric that labels disabled and transgender people as “special” and “burdens”. Disabled people hear “burden” a lot. “Burden” rhetoric is one of the ugliest forms of ableism, and POTUS and the GOP are promoting it. This is eugenicist language. For a sense of what this language can do to a population, read up on the history of autistic people during WWII in the book NeuroTribes.

http://stevesilberman.com/book/neurotribes/

Eugenics kills the neurodiversity that has made modernity possible. When we cull minds, we cull our possibilities. Without autistic, ADHD, dyslexic, and queer minds, we are lesser.

Don’t sell a healthcare bill that most of America doesn’t want by throwing disabled and transgender folks under a bus of ableism and bigotry. Stop coming at “the least of us” with evangelicalism and providentialism that we reject as un-American, anti-democratic, and morally impoverished.

Letter to My Representatives on Trumpcare #5

Sick and disabled friends and family are wondering how they will endure if the GOP destroys the ACA and Medicaid. The stress of fighting for these life-sustaining programs has been great. The stress of coping without even the basic supports we have now will be greater still. Our life force bleeds as this protracted insult to our dignity plays out.

Norms are being trampled in order to harm us. Those responsible should contemplate the disposition of direction of their souls. I lost my religion long ago, but if you believe in a Maker, consider this…

Our neurodiversity and disabilities are biological facts coded into our beings. Our differences are the beauty and the strength of our species. Autistic, Dyslexic, ADHD, LGBTQIA, Allistic, Neurotypical—our diverse wiring is of our Maker. We are expressions in the Maker’s Spectrum. Maker designed for variation so that we can be better, together, using our diversity to continue the making. We plucky Prometheans have made miraculous things together. Without the full Spectrum of minds and ways of being, we wouldn’t have achieved those wonders. We are more robust and resilient as a species and as a society when we embrace and support the biological and intellectual diversity Gifted to us.

You can choose hate and grievance, or you can look to light and behold the Spectrum. Protect us all, not just those who are white, male, cisgender, heterosexual, neurotypical, evangelical, and able. Monocultures are unstable, unhealthy, and contrary to our Making. Don’t suppress the Spectrum.

Letter to My Representatives on Trumpcare #4

Forcing a vote on a secret bill that impacts so many, including my family, is an obvious wrong. I had issues with how the ACA was passed, but compared to what is happening now the passage of the ACA was highly ethical and transparent. The contrast between the passage of the ACA and the AHCA/BCRA is startling. I watched a video today of former President Obama taking ACA questions at a town hall. We have seen no such thing from President Trump or Republican leadership. Instead, we get insulting tweets from a detached POTUS who seems confused about the difference between health insurance and life insurance.

I see in the actions and rhetoric of the GOP a disregard for ethics, norms, and rule of law. I see also a disregard for life and dignity. We protested in massive numbers. We showed up with our wheelchairs and mobility aids to exercise our right to protest and petition, and we were dragged away. We shared our stories and bared our souls to offer testimony of our lived experiences as sick, disabled, neurodivergent, and dying Americans. The response has been cowardly and callous.

In autistic and disability circles, we say “Nothing about us without us.” Trumpcare has proceeded without us despite being very much about us. Bills drafted in secrecy by an unrepresentative group is not democracy.

Letter to My Representatives on Trumpcare #3

The analysis I’ve read of the BCRA in the intervening days since it was decloaked are uniformly damning. Higher premiums, less coverage, and the wanton destruction of Medicaid. From my perspective as a parent of disabled kids, this bill is evidence of moral and ethical impoverishment and eugenicist intent. It directly contravenes promises made by POTUS during his campaign. Republican Senators have flat out lied about its effects.

I am an independent. None of the parties really represent me. One, however, has become something so dangerous and intolerable that I must change the way I vote. The party of the Southern Strategy, voter suppression, post-truth, and Medicaid destruction will not get any support from me. Instead, I will vote straight ticket Democrat in an effort to defend democracy from white supremacy, kleptocracy, autocracy, obstruction, and probable treason (quacks like a duck). The Democratic Party, with all its faults, cannot do worse than the intellectual, moral, and ethical bankruptcy–near enough to round down–of Trumpism.

In my family and circles, the GOP has lost support. To be with the GOP is to keep company with dedicated racists and post-truthers who have poisoned themselves heart, mind, and soul with grievance, supremacy, and the Southern Strategy.

It breaks my heart to see what some family members have become. The media they consume is an authoritarian diet of fear. Younger generations of white Americans mourn the loss of elders who have forsaken the expansive wisdom of years for narrow hate. Many of us have witnessed parents and grandparents become bitter, resentful, and incapable of civility. Instead of experiencing the world in its diversity and wonder, they experienced cable news and lost themselves in a false narrative of grievance and fear.

This is the legacy of the GOP. Poisoned generations of white folks are destroying the systems, institutions, and planet that support succeeding generations of all folks.