THE BLOG

An Open Letter From The Disabled To Donald Trump

21/11/2016 12:02

Dear Mr. Trump

First, we would like to congratulate you on finally taking the White House throne for the next four years. By defeating the Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, many would agree that your success in earning the title Commander in Chief marks as an astonishing event in the history of US presidential elections.

In the concluding remarks of your acceptance speech, you asked that the new administration under your command be looked upon favourably. However, some people, if not most, have expressed vociferously that their acknowledgement of this victory is not without reservations. And this is precisely when our memories do not fail us. Following numerous controversies, much concern has been raised regarding one of the most upsetting attitudes you have demonstrated during the campaign; your temperament and demeaning disregard of the disabled community.

We do not understand how someone who ought to a universal role model, considers it acceptable to belittle those who are less fortunate. Insulting and ridiculing a reporter who has arthrogryposis, as well as harassing and evicting from your rally a 12-year-old J.J. Holmes who suffers from cerebral palsy is disgraceful behaviour that no societal norms would deem tolerable.

We cannot imagine how heartbroken J.J. was when he saw you calling on security officers and saying "get them out!" when all he did was protest your lack of care towards the disabled community in your policy. Witnessing the cruelty and rudeness of your devotees, some of whom even insolently kicked J.J.'s wheelchair as he was being forcibly removed, might be one of J.J.'s mother worst nightmares. Only for her, it was real. Any excuses you may offer are unjustifiable.

By looking at some of your actions during the campaign trail, there is a sense of worry among us that 88 cases of hate crime offenses related to disability will upsurge considerably if you, as President, do not quickly reflect on your actions and begin encouraging equality for the disabled.

People with disabilities may be several decades away from their non-disabled counterparts in terms of rights and dignity. They have fought a long battle to earn the same opportunities in the access of services. However, most remain side-lined in relation to experiencing a decent education, accessing fair medical treatment, being employed without discrimination, and living in a civilised environment where they are considered equal.

Therefore, President Trump, by accepting your presidency, we hope that your administration will bring about the promise of a better future for the disabled community, who are often disempowered and isolated in society. We hope that one of the ways to make America great again includes better treatment of disabled individuals. The denial of basic rights is inexcusable, let alone mocking or belittling them. Thus, as the most powerful person in the country, you need to ensure the well-being of these people.

This is your opportunity to once and for all remove people's doubt in your capability to run the office of the President, erase their fear of your ignorance and arrogance, and reverse accusations regarding your temperament and lack of sympathy. Now it is your time. How you run the administration and take the steps to address these issues is up to you.

In contrast, we pledge to do our fair share to represent the voices of a minority who are frequently left unheard and condemn the unjust policy when critique is due. Hopefully, together we will share the same vision for the deserving men, women, and minorities to have equal opportunities in life.

Yours truly,

The disabled community and those who care about them.

This piece is co-authored with Dikanaya Tarahita. She pursued an M.Sc in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations at the University of Manchester.

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