Until approximately three minutes ago, I was having a relaxing evening after a rough day.
I had a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips, watched some YouTube and was in the midst of organizing my makeup to calm my over-active mind. I thought, “I should check Twitter”…I regret this decision very much.
When I signed on, I immediately saw this bullsh*t:
If you’re a Trump supporter, you may laugh this off. But then again, you probably laugh off his racism, too.
But this is ableist. Think it’s the only ableist thing Trump’s done today? Not even close. Let’s examine an earlier quote from Trump, coming just a few hours ago.
In this Tweet, Trump decries Biden as a “dummy” which again, you may blow off as Trump being Trump. But Trump insulting Biden’s intelligence is something Biden has had to combat his entire life because of his stutter.
Trump attacks Biden’s intellect as a way to punch Biden. It’s an easy yet disgusting attack.
Now, I could get into all the ways that Trump proves that he’s discriminatory against anyone who’s disabled, but there are better people to explain that to you. Go read David Perry’s incredible opinion piece for the LA Times. Or read Drake Baer’s article with The Cut from 2016.
See, we’ve always known Trump is ableist.
This is about the media’s role in letting Trump get away with ableist attacks, comments, gestures, pictures and more. Without calling him out on it.
Sure they called him out that one time back in 2016, but everyone from KC Hunt to Chris Cuomo and Chris Wallace didn’t call it ableist.
And while using that word may not seem important, it is. Because using the term ableism acknowledges the pain Trump so willfully causes when he does things like the above.
Or when he says that COVID-19 is something that you can fight off as though people choose their fate.
That is ableist.
I’m not alone in this thinking. Look at leading voices on disability — Alice Wong, Rebecca Cokely, Sara Looterman, Gregory Mansfield, Charis Hill, Imani Barbarin…the list goes on. They all condemn the language Trump uses and call it ableism. They explain why his words are wrong and harmful, how they only perpetuate negative stereotypes about disability.
And the media? They’re mostly silent.
The activists listed above are incredible scholars on this topic and are not called upon when Tweets and statements from Trump like tonight happen. If you’re an editor reading this, please call upon any of them to school this nation on why our
And when New Day is on CNN tomorrow morning, or Morning Edition on NPR or CBS This Morning, you will not find a disabled voice to discuss the constant attacks on our community.
Because the media is partially complicit in the ableism.
I don’t claim to know why journalists and producers at every major network and most online outlets have resigned themselves to allowing the ableism. Maybe they’re exhausted from the homophobia, xenophobia and racism coming from Trump?
Or maybe it’s because there aren’t enough disabled people on staff at these outlets to scream, “HEY! We need to cover this.”
What I’m saying, is there’s a myriad of excuses to be made in every morning meeting on why not to cover the President’s ableism. Or to not ask the Press Secretary about why he does these attacks unprovoked.
But there’s no excuse to justify not holding politician’s feet to the fire on this topic. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, when every day there are new disabled people joining our community because of Trump’s (in)action.
To be silent or even play into the ableist rhetoric coming from the President of the United States is saying to every one of us disabled people, “you don’t matter.”
Our pain is just as real. When we see Tweets coming from Trump about Biden’s intellect or being “weak,” and you do not cover it, we feel pain.
We feel invisible. And muzzled.
But we are not. The disability community now more than ever is strong, proud, loud and will speak out for each other.
Because the media isn’t speaking out for us and refuses to say what is so painfully clear:
Trump is an ableist who doesn’t care about disabled people.