I am writing this from the perspective of someone who has multiple disabilities who is married to someone who also has multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses. We both receive Social Security Disability and Medicare. As a result, recent developments in health care and the budgetary process have us on the verge of panic.
On Election Night, when it became apparent that Trump was going to win, I remarked to my wife that things were probably going to change for us in ways we couldn’t even comprehend. When I said this elsewhere, I was accused of being hyperbolic and hysterical. Now, seven months removed from that night in November, I haven’t seen anything that would prove me wrong. I could go on and on chronicling the countless ways Mr. Trump has proven himself to be unpresidential, but my focus, my main concern, is what he, and by extension the Republican Party, are trying to do with benefits for the disabled, elderly, and the poor. I have seen numerous justifications for the current proposals, ranging from budget constraints to government overreach to waste, fraud and abuse. But I believe there is an underlying feeling out there beneath all the political niceties. Nobody will speak it, unless of course Trump gets his way and “political correctness” gets thrown out the window. I have come to the conclusion that many people believe those of us with disabilities and other vulnerable populations have actually had it too good all these years, and this alleged largess has come at the expense of the average, hard-working, taxpaying American. While I can only speak for myself, I’d have to say neither my wife or me feel like we’re on anything even resembling a gravy train. We are certainly thankful for what we get, and we’re doing okay, but that’s as far as it goes. No lobster dinners for us. Our benefits give us a certain level of self-respect and, something even more important, dignity. Dignity is something you can’t put a price tag on. As the old credit card commercial used to say, it’s priceless. Shredding the safety net would put a huge damper on our dignity, not to mention millions of others. Yet for some, dignity isn’t nearly as important as supposedly balancing budgets. Try and tell the elderly lady able to live in her own home thanks to in-home support services that Medicaid cuts will force her to move to an institution that her dignity is negotiable. Try and tell the young adult with multiple disabilities who has worked their tail off and managed to move into their own apartment that they must move back in with Mom and Dad because of the budget. This is so wrong on so many levels. And I know the people in Congress know this, which is why they’re going to ridiculous extremes to avoid their constituents during legislative recesses. I don’t think the average GOP congressperson is really a cruel heartless person; they just know what side their bread is buttered on. All the same, it would be incredibly gratifying to see at least some of them actually do the right thing, even if that would mean losing some lobbyist dollars. Sadly, however, I don’t see that happening. So I’m afraid we’re stuck with the possibility of losing at least some of our benefits because we haven’t sacrificed enough. To which I call baloney. Dignity should never be negotiable or find itself subject to a budget balance sheet.
- What I Did Last Week - July 21, 2017
- Dignity? Priceless! - June 9, 2017
- Public is a Choice Too - February 10, 2017
- So What’s Next? - November 17, 2016
- On Groups and Tribes, Among Other Things: More Election Results Processing - November 13, 2016
- Yours, Mine and Ours - November 12, 2016
- What’s Happening Here? - October 15, 2016
- ABAPITA Files: Spontaneity is Not an Option - March 12, 2016
- Report From Sick Bay - February 7, 2016
- Life is What Happens… - February 3, 2016