Where Does A Handicapped Man Fit In Donald Trump’s America?

The state of our union feels fragile today.

The five stages of grief are real. And I went through all of them yesterday when it became clear Hillary Clinton had lost her bid for the oval office and Donald Trump would be our 45th president. Mingled with my grief, in its various ebbs and flows, was a question important to me personally.

Where does a handicapped man like me fit in Donald Trump’s America?

I am frightened of what a Trump presidency will mean for me. Will he take my social security away because he doesn’t value the contributions of the segment of the population to which I belong? What I mean by that is this: Does he value us enough to see that entitlement programs like social security–entitlement being the wrong name for it, in my opinion; it truly is a social safety net–exist because they make life easier to live but are nowhere near some kind of financial windfall every month? Will he treat us like second-class citizens? I suppose I’ll have to wait to have my questions answered in full, and that has me beyond worried.

I realize campaigns are full of rhetoric. They’re full of bluster and bombast, both things Mr. Trump does well. But being president is entirely different. If he truly is going to be the president for all Americans, as he claimed in his acceptance speech, that means accepting that not everyone looks like him, walks like him, talks like him, or thinks like him, and being okay with that. I’m not sure, in my heart of hearts, that he can do this.

Just like a gay man or a black woman can’t change the qualities that make them them, nor would they want to, I will always be handicapped, no matter what I do. No matter how many books I write. No matter how many times somebody tells me I’m a brilliant editor. No matter how many people love me. No matter how many times someone says, “You’re normal to me.” I can’t imagine living in a country whose president would mock me with relish. While my disability doesn’t define me, it is a part of me. It contributes to my life-experience.  So when I saw Mr. Trump mocking a New York Times’ reporter this campaign season, it felt to me like a stab to the very heart of who I am as a man. Here’s a man in Trump who was mocking another with my same disability, and the mocker wanted to be–and now will be–the leader of the free world. I was, and remain, disgusted.

When Trump actually won the election, I was distressed. I cried. I’m crying now. I have never voted for a republican presidential candidate, admittedly, but I respect this country and the people in it. I simply want to know I won’t become the new kind of “forgotten man or woman” to whom Trump made reference in his acceptance speech. I want to know that, even though I can’t serve it, my love for this country is just as valuable as the love exhibited by someone who does.

In conclusion, whether you believe in an organized religion or not, and a fair number of people I know don’t, I thought it appropriate to end this post with:

God bless you, and God bless the United States Of America.

 

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The Portion Of The American Electorate That Annoys Me Most: White Men

“How can you say that?” I can hear one of my former “Facebook friends” (read: antagonists) blurting in a comment at reading my headline. “Are you ashamed of being a white man? Is that why you’d write a blog like this?”

No, I am not ashamed of who I am, or the life I lead. I’m proud of it. But I’d wager to bet there are a good number of white men out there, whether they be young, old, or middle-aged, who hold a great deal of regret about their own lives. This leads them to a vote for Donald J. Trump. Let me explain.

What was it that Ronald Reagan so desperately wanted when he first came into office? For the government to get out of the way of progress, out of the way of the business owner. And government did this. Regulations were repealed. Oversite largely dumped. But this also meant one simple thing:

With government out of the way, there would be no safety net. And that was fine, because these businessmen (Donald Trump among them) didn’t need safety nets. The assumption being that those who worked hard would succeed, those who did not would fail. And all would be right with the world.

In the years since, we’ve learned that Reagnomics doesn’t work, the middle-class is all but dead, and now people wonder how it all happened.

My response: It’s not about how it happened. It’s about how we fix it going forward.

A house divided on itself. That is what we are. Divided by class, by race, by political view. And we can not be expected to stand if we allow this condition to persist in our nation.

So we must root out the causes of our division. And, in this country, that means the use of democracy. we vote for the person–man or woman–we feel is best qualified to take the country in the right direction.

As Mitt Romney won them in 2012, Donald Trump is up with white men, especially the non-college-educated set. They see in him a savior of sorts. Someone who actually stated, at the Republican National Convention, that the country is broken and he alone “can fix it”. They believe this because, on the surface, Trump’s record is business-y, and if he wasn’t good at business, at fixing things, at continually succeeding, would he have gotten to where he is today?

I argue that, when you’re allowed to not pay taxes for eighteen years, it’s awful easy to look successful. Whether you are successful is another matter entirely.

Another point: There is a subset of this demographic angry with our current president. Now, the question is, are they mad at him because they truly think he wasn’t born in this country? If they still believe that, there is plenty of evidence, including his birth certificate and a beautiful autobiography, to prove otherwise. He was born in Hawaii in 1961. Hawaii became a state in 1959. End of discussion on that point.

Here’s the stickier question. Are they mad at him because he’s been more successful than they have, and he has a different color skin than they do? I know how I would answer that question, but before you spit out a response full of vitriol, take a step back. This is not an attack on anyone. It’s just a question.

Moving onto a different subject, let’s take a quick look at Mr. Trump’s opponent. Mrs. Clinton is far from warm. Her attempts to appear so often fall flat. She is dishonest at times. Find me a politician who’s been working thirty years in Washington and isn’t dishonest, and I’ll find you a unicorn. A live unicorn!

Hillary’s handling of her e-mails is not the greatest, either. She’s not all that tech-savy, we can agree.

And if you want to go back to her time as secretary of state, hers was not a perfect term. We all know that. The facts surounding this term have been litigated. Whether she’s been been proven to have done something wrong is a matter of personal preference.

What can be said as a positive for Hillary is this. She wants the job. She’s been preparing her whole life, whether she knew it or not, to be president.

As for Mr. Trump, he has been preparing all his life, too, in a manner of speaking; surrounding himself with empty-suit yes-men and women comfortable telling him he’s the greatest thing since Edison invented the phonograph. Should anyone deviate from this belief, they are immediately jettisoned.

He is allowed to do whatever he wants.

Decry women.

Brag about grabbing their genitals and getting away with it. This is not “locker room talk”, by the way. No one I know talks like that. If you’re honest with yourself, no one you know does, either. And if someone you know does, maybe you shouldn’t know them.

Mock the disabled. I’m disabled, sir. Let me tell you that being disabled does not mean I lack intelligence. I’m intelligent enough to know you’re the kind of man who grew from an insecure, sad little boy. No one ever showed you what it meant to be “different”. If they had, you might be a different person, maybe even a tolerable human.

But probably not.

This election won’t turn on what white men do, who they vote for. I’m just confounded by their choice to do it. While I’d personally love for them to consider voting for someone else if they’re leaning Trump, I understand that’s a long-shot. I’m just asking them to step back and ask what it is about Mr. Trump that so energizes them. What will he do for me?  Forget his success. What will he do for me personally?(Admittedly, what energizes me about Mrs. Clinton is her not being Mr. Trump, and I have no illusions that she will personally do anything for me. How could she? She doesn’t know who I am. Donald Trump has no idea who any of us are, and he wouldn’t care if he did, unless you want to donate to his campaign or something you do can be monetarily beneficial to him.) If you’re socially conservative and you don’t like how this country’s leaning, let me offer you an alternative to Trump.

Sit this one out. Come back in four years. If you still badly want to remove Hillary, find someone who will speak for you and vote for them. But understand that Mr. Trump speaks now–and has always spoken–for himself. Giving him the power to speak for all of us is giving him the power to ruin a 200-plus-year experiment that has gone pretty well so far, all things considered.

Please don’t derail it.

As for the Clinton voter who’s still debating whether they’ll turn out on Tuesday, because can they really trust her, my answer is simple: Trust her drive. Trust that she wants this job way more than a man who is probably privately shocked to find himself in the running for it. Trust Donald Trump himself when he said Hillary would make a good senator that she will also make a good president. Trust that, while no one is perfect, least of all Hillary, she will learn fast and be up to speed before President Obama has cleaned out the oval office. Come home to her.

Because we didn’t work this hard defending this country to let a petulant, ill-tempered racially insensitive, sexually frustrated, not-as-rich-as-he-claims, not-as-successful-as-he-claims bafoon dupe half the country–the half in which non-college educated white men still think themselves superior to more successful people–and wrest the reigns of power from a capable steward.