Sen. John Fetterman Points Out 1 Huge Benefit Of Being Disabled

The Pennsylvania senator explained to “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert that being disabled has helped him acquire an ability that pundits on Fox News lack.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) is woke — at least when it comes to the systemic issues that hold disabled people back from fully engaging in society.

During an interview on “The Late Show” Wednesday, host Stephen Colbert asked the senator about the assistive technology he was using during their chat.

In 2022, Fetterman had a near-fatal stroke just days before his landslide win in the Democratic primary that year.

Since his recovery, Fetterman has relied on closed-captioning technology on a laptop or tablet that helps with the auditory processing issues that resulted from his stroke.

During his appearance on the late-night talk show, Fetterman said he was “grateful” for the closed captioning and compared it to a more commonly used assistive device.

“[It] is nothing different than having glasses, like you have,” Fetterman said, referring to Colbert’s glasses. “So, I absolutely can process everything, but sometimes the language gets kind of lost in translation. So, I use this [and] I’m able to interact.”

Fetterman then explained how engaging in the technology has shifted his perspective on accessibility issues for all disabled people — and has gifted him a valuable new ability.

“It really made me a fully more empathetic person,” Fetterman said. “And I never thought about captioning before I had the stroke. And now I realize I have to be an advocate for anyone with a disability to have the kind of technology that allows them to fully participate in society.”

“I can see how being more empathetic might make you a better senator,” Colbert pointed out.

But Colbert also wondered how Fetterman felt about having “private health become public news.”

Fetterman responded by saying he was fine with it because he “signed up for that gig” as a public figure, but it should be noted that Colbert’s question was somewhat ignorant. Ableism constantly yields accessibility issues, so disability often becomes a huge part of a disabled person’s identity — even if someone has an invisible disability, like Fetterman.

Proving he was indeed empathetic, Fetterman decided not to call Colbert out for his question and took aim at a much more egregious perpetrator of ignorance and ableism.

“The better I get, the [sadder] Fox News becomes,” Fetterman said, noting that his post-stroke conditions are subsiding and that he now relies less on closed captioning. “Because every word I missed was like candy for Fox News, you know? And now … there’s a conspiracy theory that I have a body double now.”

Sadly, this is true. Colbert even offered a headline from a September Forbes article that cited X posts promoting the conspiracy theory with photographic “evidence” related to the senator’s tattoos. (It should be noted that since Elon Musk took over the company formerly known as Twitter and decided to take away blue check marks from verified sources, there has been evidence of rampant misinformation on the social media platform.)

Fetterman wrote off the truly ignorant and ableist claim about his purported body double by joking: “I’m actually the body double, and John’s at home, going to be watching this.”


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