Disabled People Will Die Under Trump: An Emergency Plea To Allies

This is an emergency plea to those upset about a pending Trump presidency. I’d like to especially address intersectional feminists, radicals, anarchists, socialists and others in the USA who are able-bodied and drawn towards systems-level analysis and organizing for radical change.

People with disabilities and chronic illnesses will die under a Trump presidency. Full stop. We will die because of him. This is an emergency situation and we need emergency solidarity, immediately, from every single one of you. Right now, many of us feel like you do not understand the horror of this situation.

Social justice activists, why is ableism so often relegated to the periphery of your analysis? Many disabled people feel right now that they desperately need you and can’t find you. Maybe it’s the cultural lineage of eugenics and Social Darwinism which has created an ableist norm, a veil of neutrality over what is actually a system of domination. Maybe it has to do with an association between disability awareness campaigns and a vague sense of apolitical softness or even conservatism, as if caring about disability is not the job of radicals, but the job of celebrity doctors, colored ribbon campaigns, and concerned suburban moms. Or maybe it has something to do with a sense of not being personally affected by disability.

You shouldn’t have to be personally affected by something to care about it, but if helps, here’s a reminder: Every single one of you could become disabled or chronically ill at the drop of a hat, and you’re going to be living under Trump, too.

Donald Trump, in addition to being one of the most racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, classist, capitalist, all-around hateful and terrifying U.S. presidents in history, is also on track to be the most ableist president. His oft-stated goal of virtually dismantling Medicaid and Obamacare is perhaps the most brazen way in which he will boot-stomp and kill disabled and sick folks. (And this is not to mention other health care-related questions: What is going to happen to reproductive rights? What is going to happen to transfolk who use hormones?)

But Trump’s nasty ableist ideology doesn’t end at health care. Trump has contributed to an ableist cultural psychology by openly mocking disabled peopleand he has been charged with consistent ADA violations in his business ventures. This includes cases so egregious that the Department of Justice had to get involved . Trump believes capitalists are “oppressed” by the imposition of the Americans with Disabilities Act and has repeatedly spoken of supporting legislationthat would seriously limit the seminal act’s powers.

Immediately addressing this emergency also requires immediately addressing ableism’s intersection with other oppressive systems. For example, black folks are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than whites and a full half of people killed by police are disabled. This means that Trump’s potential Department of Justice policies, which will leave police even more unaccountable and militarized than already are, will have drastic effects on disabled people in general, and disabled people of color in particular.

Indeed, the disabled people who are most at risk for harm and death will be those already suffering other injustices. Many will be people of color and women who are already discriminated against in emergency rooms. Many will be immigrants and migrant workers. Many will be single mothers. Many will be LGBTQ folks. Many will be people who do not speak English, the US’s dominant language. Many will be Native Americans. Many will be severely disabled people needing total care and living in group homes, which are at risk of losing funding. Many will be disabled children in underfunded schools who risk losing their already minimal accommodations. Many will be people who are isolated, without frie