Having several disabilities (Parkinson’s disease, stuttering), I was outraged when I repeatedly watched Donald Trump mocked disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. My outraged further deepened when Trump denied the imitation, even though it was on TV repeatedly, repeatedly and repeatedly. My anger went even deeper when his followers didn’t condemn him. It’s numerically impossible for some of the thousands of people who were there not to have a child or an older person with a disability. Did they not fill the pain? Weren’t they angry? Or did they think the imitation was funny?
I have stuttered much of my life. For decades my stuttering was labeled severe by speech therapists. I was mimicked by classmates in grade school and high school. and when I entered the job market people mimicked my stuttering and my secondary characteristics. Believe me, it hurt.
I have Parkinson’s disease. It has affected my mobility, particularly my left leg. I have fallen more than a dozen times in different places. People have come to my rescue but no one mimicked my stuttering or Parkinson’s disease.
Trump’s maliciously hurtful mock of Kovaleski told me that he has no use for people with disabilities. He has no use for civil rights laws protecting people with disabilities. Does he support the Americans with Disabilities Act? How many people with disabilities work for him? Has he voluntarily made his properties accessible to people with disabilities? Does he support the Individuals with Education Act (IDEA)? Do his followers see these laws as beneficial to the country? Does Trump even know anything about these laws and why they were passed? Based on his lack of knowledge on NATO, federal budget, environmental laws, the races, regulations and other areas, I am sure Trump is a know-nothing.in the disability area.
Let’s suppose that Trump had a debilitating disease and somebody mimicked him and the mimic was shown over and over on TV. And the mimic showed Trump unable to speak distinctly. I would bet as much as I could bet would be as hot as a blazing forest fire.
Being a political junkie and a writer, I have followed Donald Trump’s meteoric rise within the Republican Party and his goal to be the President of the United States. I find it astonishing that a man with so many negatives and whose only gift is verbally chopping people down at their knees is the presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency. How low has the Republican Party fallen?
I find it appalling that trump can give what he called a major foreign policy speech and say absolutely nothing, nothing that would entice foreign policy experts to follow him. Yet, Republicans praised his American First speech. Trump’s weaknesses are astronomical. Among them are: he is a chronic liar; he is a racist; he is a bully; he is thin skinned; he is a fraud; he can’t be trusted; he has very little knowledge of American domestic and foreign history; and he is a sexist. Many of these characteristics are revealed in his mimicking of Serge Kovaleski. For example, he lied when he said he did not mimic Kovaleski, and when he said that based on Kovaleski’s story he saw thousands of Muslims dancing on a rooftop celebrating the tragic events of 9/11. He showed he is thin skinned when he replied to his critics. He showed he is a bully by picking on Kovaleski. He showed he does not care about people with disabilities by deriding Kovaleski.
People with disabilities may attend next week's Republican National Convention. If the RNC and Trump's campaign are truly interested in attracting people with disabilities to vote for Trump for president then their information should be published in large print, braille and other formats needed by people with disabilities.
Another criteria is how many sign-language interpreters are there? Has Trump used any sign-language interpreters at his ralleys?
Shortly after the Kovaleski affair, I heard from more than a hundred of irate people with disabilities condemning Trump and saying they were voting against him. There are millions of voting age people with disabilities. If they voted in a block, Trump would lose by millions of votes. The Democrats can booster voting among people with disabilities by showing the incident over and over and over on TV and the web and encouraging people with disabilities to vote Democratic.
Before the Kovaleski affair, Trump had given me reasons not to vote for him. The Kovaleski incident added fuel to the fire.
John Williams is a former award winning columnist for Business Week Online. He has been writing about disability issues since 1978. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.