One year ago, November 27, 2015, the now President-elect ridiculed a disabled reporter named Serge Kovaleski. Kovaleski disputed Trump’s claims that hundreds, if not thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9-11 attacks. While Kovaleski spoke, Trump waved his arms around and held his hand in front of his chest in the position of a claw. Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.
I’ve written before of the pass that’s given to disabled people re: malevolent treatment. Certainly disabled kids get teased and bullied. But that ceases in adulthood. Instead those of us with disability face benevolent discrimination—well-meaning able-bodied adults often react as if they know better what we should do and think. Now I’m the first to admit to being “out of it” at times. My blindness alone makes me goof, as when I asked a nun (in habit) if she were dating anyone.
But generally I can think for myself. And most of the disabled people I know earn respect for the difficult challenges they face. Insulting any of them, any of us, breaks a societal rule, if not a moral one. It’s pretty pathetic. But it seems that our future president is an equal opportunity derider.
Now there are many graver problems with our future President than his taking on the disabled for humiliation. And even if we had started our lives with $200 million from our fathers, our lives would still be harder than most. But they are richer than Mr. Trump will ever know or understand.