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.