Letter to My Representatives on HR 620 and Frivolous Lawsuits

HR 620 is raw and ugly ableism. It welcomes a return to legal exclusion. Frivolous lawsuits by a handful of high-frequency filers can and should be handled at the district court or bar level. Apply political pressure on the bad actors instead of on disabled and neurodivergent people navigating systems made callous and cruel by the politics of resentment.

Thirty years is sufficient time for us to upgrade our business ethics and embrace accessibility as good for society and business. The future is accessible. Let’s get there faster instead of slower. Withdraw support of HR 620.

Letter to My Representatives on Ableism and HR620 #HandsOffMyADA

Trumpism fuels ableist and eugenicist hate against neurodivergent and disabled people. Haters are emboldened by the GOP’s open and apparent hostility to disabled folks. These haters have heads full of myths installed by the politics of resentment. They spit these myths—propagated by Republican politicians and media—in our faces, oblivious to their own ignorance and fear.

HR620 further enshrines and promotes ableism via attacks on the ADA. Please stop doing this. Life is hard enough without constantly battling exclusion, hate, and misinformation. Accessibility is a grand social good and a powerful driver of innovation. Encourage it. My family and so many others would appreciate that. Everyone benefits from accessible design. We arguably wouldn’t have an internet if not for neurodivergent and disabled people creating accessible communication and collaboration (see the book NeuroTribes).

Disability is the most intersectional identity. Twelve years of hard-hitting Texas football contributed to my progressive disabilities. That’s not an uncommon story in our football-crazed state. We encourage kids to risk their brains and bodies playing a game while we sabotage the laws and systems that will help them remain a part of society once chronic pain settles into their lives to stay.

Anyone, at any time, can join our ranks. If and when they do, they will find themselves in an inaccessible society, sick with ableism and resentment. Much of that ableism and resentment is the direct result of Republican policies and messaging. Your words hurt us. Your willful ignorance hurts us. Your refusal to listen hurts us. Your racial hatred, indifference to suffering, and refusal to examine systemic causes hurt us.

Letter to My Representatives on the Tax Bill, Education, and Disability

The GOP tax bill shifts wealth upward, removes the educational tools that make it possible to change class status, and harms disabled people.

This bill is a class-based war on graduate students. Instead of being taxed on the $15k they make, grad students would be taxed on that 15k plus their tuition waivers, which can run to 30k, 100k, and beyond. This tax wouldn’t raise much revenue; students would drop out to avoid a bill on imaginary money, a bill they cannot possibly afford. Forcing people out of graduate school seems to be the true intent. We need folks in school, not excluded due to lack of wealth and privilege. We need the full diversity of Americans studying deeply in their chosen fields.

This plan further punishes students by eliminating student loan interest deductions, forcing students who don’t graduate to repay Pell Grants, and forcing schools to raise tuition. According to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, the cost of education would go up by $71 billion over 10 years.

Antipathy toward higher ed is a GOP touchstone. Who but the already wealthy and affluent can afford to chase their dreams and study deeply under the policies the GOP advocates?

Students are not alone in having targets on their backs. Continuing the trend set by the attacks on the ACA, Medicaid, and the ADA, disabled people are also targeted. The tax credit that helps companies with ADA compliance will meet the cutting axe. So too the adoption tax credit and the orphan drug tax credit. Spending through the tax code is not the best way to care for the folks who rely on these credits, but the GOP has demonstrated, through its repeated assaults on the ACA and Medicaid, that it does not care to help them in any form.

Education, accessibility, and healthcare are near and dear to our family. This bill limits the horizons, possibilities, and lifespans of my children. Passing this bill—without hearings and amidst the constant distractions of a racist, undisciplined demagogue—would be deeply wrong. Vote against it.

Props to these pieces, from which I learned and lifted.

My previous letters on the tax bill and the ADA.