I had to get up several times last night, I was so sick to my stomach. In the darkness last night, I did not have words to describe the horror I am struggling with. Now I do.
I am the mother of a young, Mexican, brown-skinned woman, with a dual diagnosis of cognitive and severe behavioral disabilities. She’s a woman—Trump bragged about being able to grab women’s pussies-sexual assault, and the basest, most objectifying way of defining a woman possible. Please don’t tell me it’s just words. Words matter. She’s a disabled person—Trump stood and made hideous fun of a disabled reporter. There already is next to no safety net for so many of our most vulnerable disabled persons. She is Mexican-one of those rapists, thieves, the lowest of the low. As a psych major with extensive Human Resources experience, I know this to be true: past performance is the best predictor of future performance. In Trump’s world, she has three strikes against her. The attitude underlying Trump’s words and actions this campaign will shape policy and the future of our country. I lack words to describe the grief and fear I feel for my daughter.
In the last weeks of December of 2015, it became clear that my father needed more support and assistance than he had in Panama. Sherod and I applied for permanent residency on his behalf. We understood and fully supported the caveat that Dad would not have access to any social benefits—after all, he has not paid taxes in this country, the basis of any safety net in a democratic, market-based social system. We gladly, but with fear and trembling, agreed we would assume all financial responsibility for him in the event that he faced medical expenses that exceeded his resources.
The only reason we could even consider this possibility was because my Dad was eligible for Obamacare. He pays $730/month for coverage and has high deductible, but it is a safety net for all of us. We already know his premiums for 2017 will rise 37%–that’s a lot of money, a breathtaking increase. Obamacare is not perfect. But more than 20 million people, including my Dad, have insurance when they didn’t before. I have been so very grateful to have a way to care for an 89 year old man who sometimes makes me a little crazy and who, like my daughter, is vulnerable and deserving of care. Trump has vowed to dismantle Obamacare and has never—nor has any Republican—offered an alternative that is believable to me.
My life has changed. Is it the end of the world? No. Is it harder? Beyond belief. And. And. Maria and Gunnar have a fierce and determined pair of advocates who would give our lives to care for them. Sherod and I will do what we can to provide for them until there is no breath left in us. I understand our country faces huge challenges that have made life difficult for people everywhere. I recognize that the ‘establishment leaders’ failed in more ways than we can count. I accept that for many of my neighbors, my friends, and those who serve Christ and our neighbor side by side with me in church, today is a good day. But if you ask me what I think, and I tear up, please understand that for me there is a struggle not to give into despair at the outcome of this election.
The work is ours to do now. As we sow, so shall we reap. May we sow seeds of a new kind of unity and willingness to accept there are no easy answers, no magic bullets and no quick fixes for all that ails our country. May we truly come to know that in the end, we are stronger together. Please pray for my girl and my dad and all those for whom this is a new time of vulnerability.