I had a son with cerebral palsy. Mentally, he was fine. Physically, no, he was in a wheelchair, he couldn’t feed himself, get himself a drink, sit up unsupported, and perhaps most important for this post, his speech was slow and often difficult to understand because of the motor difficulties involved in spasticity. He died when he was seventeen in early 2012.
One of the very few positive things about my kid having CP - believe me, there weren’t many - is how nice people were to him. I don’t remember people making fun of his disability more than a couple of times in his lifetime, and the person I remember doing it was a little kid who grew to treat him much better later. As someone who grew up near NYC, I was used to kids making fun of each other. I was kind of shocked in a good way that it didn’t happen to him.
I’m glad I never had to explain to him that a candidate for President mocked a reporter for talking kind of like him. I’m really glad I never had to explain to him that the American public had decided to elect this man President.
What bothers me, and others like me, most about Trump is not that he mocked a guy with a disability. What bothers us is that this is typical of his approach.
There are people here who think all sorts of things about liberals. We adore big government and value it for its own sake. We enjoy intruding on lives (the fact that intruding on homosexual lives is really a conservative thing notwithstanding). We love PC. We hate Christians. We think all White straight males belong in Hell in spite of the fact that every last one of us is an atheist. We hate America and think fully armed Iranian soldiers should be able to cross any border at will. I don’t know, we’re zombies for Soros. Take your pick.
Actually, liberalism really boils down to two things which are related. We believe in level playing fields and we believe in protecting the vulnerable.
That is basically what everything in our ideology comes from. It may look kind of strange by the time you see it, in some cases I’ll say that’s what things mutate from, but those are our core values. The more people go against those values, the more pissed we get.
We now have a President who believes the vulnerable are losers who aren’t worthy of protection.
We haven’t had a President who believed that so universally in my lifetime if ever. If I were to look at the previous Republican President we had, George W. Bush, whose policies did some terrible things to the country, there were a few things I respected about him even at the time. One was that his cabinet was extremely diverse without a hint of tokenism, really more so than any other President I can think of. Bush is not a hater at all. Another is that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, one of the first things he did was state that he would not tolerate taking this out on American Muslims.
But this isn’t Trump. Trump doesn’t like the vulnerable. He is dead consistent on this. It doesn’t matter what the population is. Proposing a Muslim ban. What does that say top the country about American Muslims? Treatment of women in his personal life, up to and including replacing his wives when they age. Immigrants? Please. Even if they’re illegal, separating little children from their parents and taking them away? Are you serious? Jews? Hate crimes against Jews have skyrocketed since he became President, and a lot of the perpetrators reference him while they do them. Is there an armed guard where you worship? On occasions like holidays when the congregation is crowded, there’s a police officer at mine.
Blacks? He’s suggested at his rallies that attendees beat up Black protestors. He’s working to make sure that police are more immune from consequences if they get brutal with Black suspects. A Black friend of mine tells me that he feels this election has reduced his physical safety. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop for no apparent reason? I don’t know any Black males who drive who haven’t. He has expressed extreme animosity toward the movement trying to fix this.
For God’s sake, the man even showed disrespect to American POW’s, basically on the grounds that they were vulnerable.
Who’s the most vulnerable population in the country right now? Transsexuals. He’s currently in the act of going after them.
One of the reasons I love America is because of what the country has done for the vulnerable: taking them in, sheltering them, accepting them, giving them freedom, integrating them, turning them into fiercely loyal Americans who become assets to our country. This presumably includes the ancestors of a lot of people on this site. It includes mine.
I’m not saying we should take in unlimited numbers of immigrants, but we should be more welcoming than this.
Emma Lazarus wrote a famous poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, ending in
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
What it doesn’t say is “Keep your fucking losers out of my country!” That’s where we are now.
What do you call someone who constantly picks on the vulnerable?
We’re America. We have a history of standing up for people.
And here’s the thing:
We don’t understand why you’re OK with this. When you vote to make Americans more vulnerable, particularly when they already are, expect them to take it personally. That’s what the shirt means in Riley Brown’s post.