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May 04

An Open Letter From A Disabled American

An open letter to the Republican Party.

Hi, my name is Sarah. I am in my mid-thirties, I have two kids. I love photography, reading, writing, cooking and traveling. I think Utah is a weird place to live, but it’s also stunningly beautiful, and I want to explore every inch of it. I want to grow old, and watch my kids grow up and become powerful adults. I love life, and I want to live it to its fullest.

I’m pretty much your average American. Nothing too exciting or outrageous.

The difference is, I have a chronic (incurable), degenerative illness, and I’m also fighting cancer, and have been since 2010. The Republican Party just decided in one swooping vote, that my life, and the 24 million lives that I represent, aren’t worth the trouble. Our lives have been weighed and measured, and we have been found wanting by our lawmakers. It has been decided that our right to have any quality of life is not as important as a tax cut, or politicians’ egos.

Let me be clear: This vote will result in the death of innocents, of the loss of quality of life for many, and a permanent impact to more families and social groups than we can really put into numbers. It is a ripple effect from hell. The vote has been cast, now we, the disabled, the poor, the freelancers, those with preexisting conditions, get to pay the price. We exist, therefore we are damned.

We have been reduced to numbers on charts, positives and negatives, graphs and important words. We have been reduced from people and turned into business projections. Our humanity has been erased, and in its place are a bunch of numbers.

That’s the basics of what happened in Washington DC today.

This is a new experience for me. I live in a very red state, and I’m a very blue woman. Not agreeing with politicians is nothing new for me. It kind of comes with the territory. I have never, however, felt like I’m not a human, that the government has decided that I don’t deserve to live, that I don’t deserve to have access to life saving healthcare because perhaps my personal healthcare needs are a little more demanding than most. I have never felt like I’m subhuman until right now, when my politicians, instead of speaking up for me and my fundamental right to life, decided to turn their back and shove me and so many others into a group of the damned and doomed.

We exist, and by this simple act of existing, we failed our politicians’ personal litmus test.

Twenty-four million Americans will probably lose their healthcare. Even more will face penalties for having the audacity of having a pre-existing condition. The government took almost no time actually studying their proposed healthcare changes. There weren’t, to my knowledge, any proper and extensive studies done on the impacts these changes would make. The Republicans had eight years to think up something, but instead they took about two weeks to pound out a bill that requires those who have nothing to give, to give all they have, plus some.

We suffer, while the rich eat their cake.

This country has the potential to be a great one. For the most part, I love living here, but I’ve also never felt like I’m subhuman simply because I was born with faulty DNA and my cells keep spewing out cancer. I can’t help either of those things. I didn’t ask for my health problems, and I sure as hell don’t enjoy them, but now I feel like I’m being punished for them, for things that are outside of my control, and so are twenty-four million others. We are an army of the inconvenient, and so we are made to pay the price for the sin of our birth, economic class, freelancing, illness, etc.

Fundamentally, America cannot be a great nation until it sees all people as equal, and treats them as such. We cannot be the great nation we think we are until all people have access to those things that allow them a chance at living the best life they can live. This includes healthcare.

Those aren’t hard words to read or say, but apparently they are hard words for our lawmakers to understand.

We are human beings. We are human beings regardless of our health issues, our race, the amount of money we make, our religious affiliation, our sexual and gender identities and whatever else. WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS and no one, not a government in Washington DC passing these kneejerk bills, not my neighbor, not my boss at work, has a right to take that away from any of us, and that’s what I fundamentally feel happened today.

We have been robbed. We have been robbed of our healthcare and our right to life. We have been robbed of our personhood.

Republican Party, you just voted that 24 million + people don’t deserve the right to healthcare, while you get to keep yours. You just voted that 24 million + people, citizens of this country that you think you represent, don’t deserve an equal chance at life. These are disabled individuals, people with chronic conditions, people within certain income brackets, freelancers, and much more. So much more. You have signed your names in the blood of those who will suffer for your faulty cause.

And I guess I’m over here, just another inconvenient, expensive, expendable disabled American with numerous preexisting conditions, wanting to make that incredibly clear. You’ve shut me out of your pool party. You’ve turned your back on me and mine. You don’t represent me. We are not secondary citizens. We do not deserve to be shut out. We do not deserve to pay the price in our lives, our health, so you get to keep your tax cuts, and your fragile egos intact.

Republican party, the fundamental truth is, you cannot judge a person’s worth or their right to life. You do not have that power. You do not get to pass sweeping bills that will condemn many people to an early grave simply for your own gains. You don’t get to define and demand impossible things of your constituents for your own egos, convenience, or to settle an old score. You absolutely don’t get to pretend that you did the right, moral, praiseworthy thing because you haven’t, and society will inevitably let you know.

Fundamentally, we are human beings. You don’t have the right to take our right to life (which is what healthcare is to many of us) away simply because we have inconvenient health issues, or fall on the wrong side of the income gap. You don’t get to turn us into business projections and numbers, and erase our humanity. You don’t have the right to turn me, and those like me, into secondary citizens. We don’t deserve to be pushed to the side and made to suffer for your greed while we watch from the sidelines as you have access to all the things we need so desperately just to live. To survive. Your vote told us in no uncertain terms that life is something that you don’t actually care about. You are a party of death, drinking a Kool-Aid of lies. You don’t believe in equality. You made that perfectly clear today.

We are human beings.

We are not going away.

We will not be silent.

Power is given to you by the people, and the people can take it away.

2018 is coming, and it’s coming fast.

– Sarah

5 comments

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  1. Paul Weimer

    Co-signed.
    Thank you, Sarah

    1. BookwormBlues

      Thanks for your support, Paul.

  2. Kerry

    Bravo.

    I’m a person with a chronic condition watching from the other side of the world with my mouth hanging open. I have no words to describe what I’m feeling.

    You are clear and eloquent.

    May you be heard.

  3. SMD

    A+

  4. Marianne Edwards

    Horrified by the actions of Republicans… and I thought little enough of them before. Shout it loud from the hilltops. Tell the people of apathy land what is happening – to them. Good luck. Stay strong. Keep shouting.

  1. ANNOUNCING | FACES OF IMPACT – A Grassroots Online Activism Campaign – Our Words

    […] (to read my open letter, click this link) […]

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