I’ve been asked, several times by different people, why I haven’t written more about Trump. I’ve been chastised a couple of times form not bringing a disability perspective to the phenomenon of Trumps rise from ‘can’t win’ to ‘did win’ in the states. My only response has been, thus far, is that there are already a lot of people bringing a disability perspective to the slow and steady rise of hateful rhetoric about those Trump perceives as having a threatening difference. You know, anyone but certain white able bodied males. And besides, I remind them, I am not ‘the voice’ of all things disability and I have a responsibility, in writing this blog, to write only what I am moved to write.
It should be no surprise to anyone that I am appalled and frightened by the very idea of a Trump presidency. I was one of the ones who was not surprised that he won. I have seen how hate stir into action while love likes to steep. Love got up an hour late and the election, it was done.
But I want to write about my person Trump problem. I have a lot of Facebook ‘friends,’ most of them I don’t actually know. Most of us are connected by our own relationships, personal or professional, with disability. So that means I have a very diverse group of people I’m connected to and whose posts I read in my daily feed. For the most part this is great. I feel up to date and informed about what’s going on in Australia and the United Kingdom and, of course, the United States. I hear of things on Facebook before in the media, and more importantly I hear of things that are never covered by the media. The media has no special interest or drive to cover disability issues so this link for me is tremendously helpful.
What this diversity on my feed also does well is bring forward a wide variety of points of view. Most I agree with, some I do not, and that’s lead to great discussions and I find, more often that I would like, I find myself recognizing my own prejudices or flaws in my line of reasoning. Good. I grow. So I’m not uncomfortable with divergent opinions.
There are those who post very pro-Trump messages and memes and who are really, solidly, behind the man and his philosophy of the ‘forgotten people’ of America. He’s not talking there about gay people or women or people of colour or people with disabilities – we’re the one’s whose attention has pulled away from ‘regular Americans’ (here read white heterosexual able bodied people). To suggest that I’m not a regular Canadian because I am gay or because I have a disability is a slight that would bring me to fight. To suggest that there is a ‘regular citizen’ is to suggest there are ‘irregular citizens’ and that’s the divide that I find terrifying. Being set aside, culled from the group, upsets me. But … here I am, off track. But I get off track in thinking and talking about this.
What I was trying to say is that they post things that are pro Trump and I believe, anti me. I don’t know how the reconcile those two things. But I don’t know what to do either. I don’t want to just unfriend people, I don’t want to not hear their voices, but I’ve also found that engaging them isn’t particularly helpful. You can’t talk to someone who is already ready to scream.
I see their posts, read as much as I can and move on. I don’t like the posts so I don’t ‘like’ them. But other than that I’m just going on. I value diversity, but, my good heavens, that can be a difficult way to live. I guess you can sum it up by saying: The trouble with diversity is that it’s diverse.