The day the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is repealed, my niece and son’s girlfriend will both lose their health insurance. As a person with a disability, a woman, and the daughter of an immigrant, I am deeply worried about a Trump administration for many reasons. Due to my Multiple Sclerosis, I am no longer able to work. For those of us who depend on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Social Security Disability Income, subsidized housing, or SNAP (“Food Stamps”) cuts to those programs could bode a grim future.
When the incoming First Family appeared for an interview on 60 Minutes, I was appalled that afterward Ivanka Trump’s company choose to hawk the $10,800 bracelet she wore on the program. That bracelet cost more than my aged mother receives in a single year from Social Security, her only source of income.
That Donald Trump would openly mock a reporter with a visible, physical disability is heart-breaking. Like the approximately 400,000 people in the United States with Multiple Sclerosis, my chronic, progressive illness affects me in many ways both visible and invisible to others. Before MS, I could have participated in Saturday’s march but not now.
But it’s not just me or other people with disabilities that I’m worried about. My father was a boy during World War II. He and his family were refugees a total of three times. My father, his parents, and four of his sisters immigrated to this country. For that reason I have a special place in my heart for immigrants and refugees. Everywhere I look I see people who could be hurt by Trump’s policies not only in this country but around the world. Never have I dreaded a president taking office as much as I have dreaded this one.
Christine Hartelt is a writer who uses her master’s degree in anthropology, her life experience growing up as the daughter of an immigrant, and her years as a guest in other countries to bring a cross-cultural perspective to how she views the world. She has written about her MS at http://creativecenter.msworld.org/library/ms-encounter/why-ms-matters.