I was having a bad disability day.
You probably know what I mean … the kind of day that reminds us that while disability can be endlessly fascinating, a proud identity with a vibrant, supportive community, it’s can also be a real pain, sometimes literally. So, after several futile attempts to do useful things, I decided to clear the decks and take a nap. It turned out to be surprisingly productive.
See, I had this dream …
In my dream I interviewed Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President of the United States. We were sitting in the luxuriously appointed office of his huge, beautiful campaign bus. It was the greatest campaign bus in history. Granted, it’s the only campaign bus I’ve ever seen. But trust me, it was the greatest bus ever. It was fabulous.
Trump was cordial, but he seemed to give me the side-eye at first, and for some reason he sounded unusually cautious about saying anything amiss in front of this weird-looking little man … in front of me, that is. In my dream I sensed it was important to put the nominee at ease.
“Don’t worry Mr. Trump. I’m only here to ask you about disability issues. I’m not going to ask you about your new economic plan, what you meant about ‘Second Amendment people,’ or the great big beautiful wall you’re going to build on the Mexico border.” He seemed to relax a bit, so I dove in. I asked him five questions that have been on my mind for months now:
- Do you support full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act? Or, do you believe building accessibility and job nondiscrimination should be voluntary? How do your views on this relate to your broader criticism of “government regulation” of businesses?
- You have suggested that you oppose cutting Social Security benefits for retirees. What about Social Security Disability? Some politicians say there are too many people on Disability, and that the program is full of waste and fraud. Others maintain that SSDI, while not perfect, has a fairly low rate of fraud and is one of the more efficient government assistance programs. What is your view?
- You seem to take pride in proposing controversial, “outside the box” solutions to big problems. Do you have any original, unorthodox policy ideas that you think would help solve some of the unique problems disabled Americans face? For example:
– High unemployment.
– Lack of support services to live independently and avoid going into a nursing home.
– The high incidence of disability among people killed by police.
- As a businessman, what would you do if one of your middle managers was alienating his colleagues, causing anger and discontent in your offices, by making sarcastic, disparaging remarks about another executive’s disabled daughter? How would you reconcile your need to run an efficient workplace, and your frequently stated disdain for “political correctness?”
- I hate to be that guy, but I’ve got to ask … What was really the deal with making fun of that disabled reporter, Serge Kovaleski? Whether you meant it or not, why didn’t you just apologize? Is there anything you’d like to say about this to the 15 million-plus disabled voters out there?
Here’s the odd thing about this unusually vivid, afternoon napping dream. I can’t remember Mr. Trump’s answering. All I remember is him sitting there behind a huge oak desk, in his huge, spectacular campaign bus, no expression on his face at all, wearing one of his red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.
The last thing I recall is walking away from the bus, looking back, and seeing Trump inside the bus with Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence, mimicking a funny walk that looked a lot like mine. Pence seemed to spot me looking, and slammed down the window shade. Then I woke up.
So I’m putting the questions out there, hoping maybe Donald Trump will see them somehow, or maybe someone will get a real-world chance to ask him a few questions about disability issues.
I suspect we all have a pretty good idea of who Donald Trump is and what he stands for, whether we like it or not. However, disability issues are still so unknown and misunderstood outside the disability community, it’s hard to say for sure what anyone is going to think about them. So, it’s worth asking, and worth getting some kind of an answer.
Seriously, would someone please ask him for me, for real?
Contact: Andrew Pulrang