On Friday, January 20th, the world as we know it will change.
Yes, I understand the electoral process and acknowledge that the system representing our country’s citizens votes has appointed a new leader. But no one – not even the inner sanctum of the Republican leadership, much less the people that cast their vote for Donald Trump – could have anticipated the reckless stripping away of civility, of ritual and protocol, of compassion, of law and rule and order – indeed, the very spirit of what it means to be American – that has already begun even before the oath is taken on Friday.
Already the dismantlement of supports for people with intellectual disabilities has begun. If you heard or watched the hearings on Trump’s pick to lead education – DeVos says states don’t have to comply with IDEA – seehttp://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/01/17/devos_says_states_don_t_have_to_comply_with_federal_law_protecting_disabled.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_fb_top. If you watched the Senate vote to dismantle The Affordable Health Care, they voted for doing away with pre-existing conditions, 51 to 48. The nonsense about vaccines being harmful (without any evidence at all, of course) is signalling a departure from evidence, from reason, along with a hundred other tweets and statements from a wildly erratic individual that will soon have the power to affect us all.
And by the way, the transition team hasn’t even CONTACTED the Administration for Community Living, which houses Aging and Disability efforts and which works closely with CMS on fine tuning how Medicaid/Medicare are utilized for vulnerable populations. That’s right, as of Friday, all Obama political appointees leave their federal stations and our government goes on autopilot. There is a rumor that Jenny McCarthy is being considered for the ACL post. What joy.
I take small comfort in that there are far more people arriving in Washington this week to attend the Women’s March than will be at the Inauguration based on the number of bus permits and availability of hotel rooms (yes, you can still find a hotel room in DC for later this week). Small comfort, indeed. And if I sound bitter, it’s because I think Trump has forever stained the definition of what it means to be an American and our culture of being sound of mind and heart. We are the laughing stock of the world, the people that voted for such an ass to lead our country. Only time will tell the quality and outcomes of this decision.
Our country is about to be led by the anti-reason movement. So where does that leave us, those of us that breathe human services and disabilities and the right to choose in self-determination and the principles of the DD Act that assure value, dignity, and person-hood for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities?
It leaves us with our integrity. With our ethics. With our individual decisions to do what is right. We don’t have to be bullied by the anti-reason movement. We will need to adjust our methods should (when) the pipeline of resources be disrupted. I don’t believe that advocacy as we know it will work in the future, because reason and logic and compassion have left. I do believe that families will need to take up more responsibilities as agencies have fewer resources with which to work. I do believe that the future footprint of service providers will realize care for a population of people that have high support needs; the rest that can experience marginal to full independence will be required to do so.
So, it’s every man, woman, and child making decisions for ourselves until we have another choice on another Presidential ballot. Let’s make sure that we continue to work together, in our communities, in our boardrooms and offices, in our work, our homes, and in our hearts.
Donald Trump – you can’t take that away from us. Oh, and Friday? At noon Eastern time? I’m going to turn off the television, go take a walk, and think about things that really matter. And it won’t be about some blustering guy with orange hair.