As we reach the last stage of the 2020 election, I feel hopeful. I see people caring about others. Democrats pitching in when needed most. Republicans sick of what has been happening during the Trump administration. Independents choosing to act on change for the better. Public figures, like scientists and military personnel, who’ve never made a political statement speaking out on the news or in ads to ask Americans to vote for Joe Biden. People who may have been reluctant or indifferent to voting four years ago are now scared and disturbed by the true radicals trying to take over the country — the cynical, selfish politicians attempting to consolidate what remains of their power, and who are gleeful supporters of racism and corruption. All of these things give me hope.
Here’s the thing — I’m a person with disabilities. That means I have preexisting conditions. If Trump and Mitch McConnell succeed in demolishing Obamacare, I will have serious problems obtaining decent health care and medication, and my health will get worse. There are many others like me. Ady Barkin, the lawyer and activist afflicted with ALS, has communicated eloquently and compellingly on the urgency of health care protections and affordability. People with disabilities, both physical and psychological, make up a large but often overlooked segment of society. Trump and company don’t care about them. You’ve already seen how Trump feels about persons with disabilities — when he mocked a reporter with disabilities in 2015, when his followers mock Joe Biden’s stutter, and when he spoke disparagingly of veterans with disabilities. It’s what he does.
Those Americans voting now and those planning to vote in a Blue Wave do care. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the many Democratic Senate and House candidates (and local and state candidates) care. Joe Biden has said he will protect and improve Obamacare, and work to break down barriers those with disabilities face. Many Democratic voters may not have disabilities, but they know that persons with disabilities deserve protection, dignity, and fundamental human rights. They are working and voting not just for themselves but for all Americans.
I’m also part of the LGBTQIA+ community. As I know from my former practice in employment discrimination law, without protections I could be fired from my job just for being part of that community or for supporting it. Despite the suggestion by Trump’s followers that he’s the best ever president for gay persons, we know differently. His actions tell us the truth. He associates with persons who hold harsh, hateful views about LGBTQIA+ marriage, same-sex parents, trans and gender nonbinary students, and protections in employment, housing, health care, and military service. He doesn’t care about the LGBTQIA+ community, no matter how many times Tiffany Trump and the other Trump children and followers attempt to gaslight us.
However, those people voting in the Blue Wave do care. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the national, state, and local Democratic Senate and House candidates care. Joe Biden said in his recent town hall that he will change the law to protect trans children. He supports the Equality Act and says the LGBTQIA+ community deserves a partner. Many of the voters and Democratic candidates are not LGBTQIA+, but they are allies. They know that the community deserves protection, dignity, and fundamental human rights.
I’m a white person. I’m not a parent with school children. I’m not a farmer. I grew up on social services but I’m not on assistance now. I have no current need for a safe abortion. But I care about other people — Black, Hispanic, Asian, all races. I care about children’s safety and security. I care about our industries. I care about people who need safe reproductive health care. I care about those struggling with low incomes and job loss, and facing eviction. All those persons need a vote of protection. I’m glad to be part of that vote — I help them as they vote to help a queer person with disabilities like me. I care about the 545 children ripped away from their parents, who were deported without them, and the children who continue to live in camps without their parents thanks to Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policies. I want those children, and all children currently held in Trump’s camps, to be reunited with their families and treated with dignity and care. It’s what we should do as part of humanity.
Joe Biden has made clear that he and Kamala Harris are not just going to be president and vice president for themselves. They are there for everyone — including those who did not vote for them or who did not vote at all. That is how it is supposed to be. Compare them to Trump, who has repeatedly said that Blue States do not deserve pandemic aid or federal aid. If a state governor does not support him, he not only refuses help, he insults them, and as in the case of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmore, puts her in physical danger.
Trump has said that he doesn’t care about the religious persons who support him, speaking about them in a contemptuous manner. He has made it clear he doesn’t care about his own followers. At one rally in Pennsylvania, he said, “I wasn’t coming to Erie. I mean I have to be honest, there’s no way I was coming. I didn’t have to.” At other rallies, he has threatened never to return to the state if he loses it in the election.
What kind of leadership is that? This is a person who cannot even act responsibly in a pandemic, who ridicules basic protections — like masks and social distancing — and encourages his followers to do so as well. He does not care if you get sick. He does not care if you don’t have access to the top-quality care he does. He does not care if you suffer long-term health effects or job loss due to the pandemic. He does not care about the COVID-19 death toll in the US. ”It is what it is,” he said. He can’t even muster empathy for the families of those whose lives were lost and only argues he shouldn’t be blamed. He. Does. Not. Care. It’s who he is.
Remember, his main focus since attaining office has been enriching his personal fortunes and hiding his financial information. Mitch McConnell doesn’t care either. The pandemic places us in one of the most dire situations of modern times but McConnell specifically said he was preventing a vote on relief before the election because it was politically inconvenient and he was focused on getting Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court.
McConnell does not care. Those who work with him and Trump, and support him and Trump, do not care. It’s what they do. Their actions and lack of words tell you all you need to know.
We are down to the wire. There are no guarantees about what will happen, but I hope that, like me, you can understand the people courageously forging ahead in long lines — people caring about others. I thank you for being a part of helping others with voting, getting out the vote, telling others how you feel. If you aren’t sure about voting, or if you know someone who is not sure, I ask you to consider taking one of the most fundamental human actions — helping another person. You may not need the vote, but I do and many others do. We need you. And we will be there for you, too. It’s what we do.
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