For every person, with or without a disability, there are a web of people who support that person as they grow and develop to live an independent, productive life. For children, that web starts but cannot end with the child’s parents.
For a child with a disability, much of that web of support depends on programs that rely on federal funding through Medicaid.
As a parent of two teens with disabilities, a parent who already struggles even WITH the supports we receive, I can make a prediction.
If these cuts are allowed to happen, they will drive millions of people OUT of the labor force. Millions of mothers (and some fathers, too) who are already stretched because private insurance doesn’t cover the treatment or therapy or medication their child needs. Millions of mothers who are ALREADY underemployed, working in jobs far below their earning potential or intellectual capacity because the needs of their child (or children!) makes their schedule too unpredictable. Mothers who are spending their own prime earning years and college degrees changing pull-ups on teenaged bodies. Mothers who are risking injury and disability of their own lifting and changing and rolling — and ducking the unexpected spasm.
A New Foundation for American Greatness, you say? You are building it on the blood, tears, sweat and bones of myself and my beloveds.
–and to that I say NO.
I WILL NOT LET YOU FORGET THAT WE EXIST. OR THAT WE MATTER.
You are perhaps counting on the smallness and meanness of politicians whose limited measure of a person’s worth is what they add in economic value to the already overstuffed coffers of the billionaires who fill the cabinet and the Congress. And you are counting, perhaps, on the smallness and meanness of people who are also struggling and who don’t want to see any of their hard-earned money go to ‘undeserving moochers” on the system.
When and how did we the people become so jaded and calloused?
I was born years after his death, but the echoes of JFK’s challenge still reverberated through my childhood – “Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country.” I was brought up to revere education, learning for learning’s sake, curiosity, travel for the way it opens first our minds and then our hearts. I took to heart the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “Everybody can be great, Because anybody can serve.” I believe that generosity and optimism and kindness will always take us further than cynicism, let alone hatred.
We need a new foundation for American greatness, I agree with you there. But what I have in mind involves taking a full, clear-eyed grown-up assessment of who we are and where we stand.
Certainly anything that requires further denigrating or diminishing the lives of human citizens of our republic isn’t worthy of the appellation ‘great.’
To be great, to be worthy of honor and esteem, we need to know what we value as a nation and then demonstrate those values by our collective spending. Words alone are not enough.