Day 308: Don’t be ableist
For those of you just tuning into my corner of the internet, I’m a disabled vet. If you looked at me most days you wouldn’t know it, but not all disabilities are visible and my TBI, back issues, shoulder issues, knee issues, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, memory problems, PTSD, aphasia … I could keep going, but you get the idea. My disabilities are (mostly) not visible. So today I have a very simple request, don’t be ableist.
Let’s just get this out of the way. I absolutely hate Trump. He’s a symptom of so many things wrong with our country, in particular the unabashed racism that has become so very fucking open and prevalent today. He’s not just racist, he’s also sexist, transphobic, homophobic, and pretty much every bad thing that a person can be wrapped up into one steaming pile of shit.
There are so many very good reasons to hate him. We can dunk on him all you want with his tiny crowd sizes and his constant self promotion without any self awareness. I mean, let’s do this. I draw the line at making fun of his ability to do common things. I draw a line at claiming he’s mentally ill. I draw a line where everyone else should be drawing the line, but even if you’ve fallen into this behavior, it’s not too late to stop.
You know who doesn’t care that you’re making fun of him for using two hands to drink water? Trump. You know who doesn’t see you poking fun of his ramp walking skills? Trump. You know who wouldn’t give a shit even if he did see these things? Trump. However, your friends, family, online friends, they all see you doing this and I would be willing to bet that if you’re not living in a bubble, you have at least one person who is disabled seeing the things you’re saying.
On a good day I can walk just fine. I haven’t had to use a wheelchair in… oh man like 10 years now, go me! Some days stairs are harder, but I still regularly take them at school to challenge myself. I know not everyone is that lucky, I know I’m lucky. Being disabled doesn’t make me or anyone else less than. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make a good president. It doesn’t mean my life is worth less than yours. Some of the best people I know are disabled. The person who manages our lab is in a wheelchair and cannot feed herself. How do you think she would feel if I made fun of someone for not being able to drink water or go down a ramp?
Imagine if you were that person. How would you feel if people made comments about Trump not being able to do these things and how pathetic it is, but you couldn’t do them yourself, even on a good day? For a long time I couldn’t walk down a ramp, that doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad leader.
Now imagine you have a mental illness, let’s say PTSD, my favorite (not really). You’re constantly on edge, your mind is always racing, you have trouble being out in public. Now imagine someone trying to claim that racism is a mental illness. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, those are a fucking choice. It’s not an irrational fear of spiders, you’re choosing to not like a whole group of people because they exist. Being a bigot is a choice, not a mental illness. I didn’t choose to have a mental illness, I don’t want to be this way and I struggle every day not to be this way. They have a choice, I don’t. You have a choice, so don’t call what they are doing a mental illness.
Trump is a racist pile of shit and we can make jokes about that all day. You know what’s not funny? Being disabled and hearing how he’s a pile of shit because he can’t drink water the same way you do.
Making fun of his inability to do something is not hurting him, you’re just hurting the people around you. Humor is a great coping strategy for the trauma being affected upon us, just be mindful of the people you’re inadvertently hurting in the process.