Last night I posted a sweet video on Facebook. It was of Ashley signing, laughing, communicating, and being her wonderful self. I thought it was touching. And I thought it might allow others to experience just how amazing she is, disabilities and all.
But this afternoon, my better judgment kicked in, and I deleted it.
I had just read today’s article about the dehumanizing hacking of Leslie Jones’s website. And I remember the awful things that were said about her previously on Twitter. She insightfully defended herself when she was the guest, and I was in the audience, of the live taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers: “Hey. Hate speech and freedom of speech: Two different things.”
I’ve also seen similar racist, disgusting, and offensive remarks on Facebook about President Obama, his wife, and their daughters by individuals I am sure would swear they are not racist.
And then I remembered Donald Trump on national television mocking an individual with disabilities. That did it. “Delete.”
The video of Ashley was just the sort of thing that some “troll” could have made fun of. Thanks to Donald Trump, my sense of opportunity and acceptance for Ashley felt tenuous the moment he mocked the New York Times reporter.
No, you wouldn’t understand.
Oh, sure, I am very aware it has happened discreetly behind our backs for years. And I can share painful stories when it has been far from discreet. Dementia will be the only thing that will erase those memories. And Donald Trump’s mockery will take the same to forget.
Indeed, there is something about this time in our history that feels different to me and makes me take pause. In case you missed it in late July, 19 individuals with disabilities were stabbed to death and another 26 were injured in a residential care home in Japan. The murderer told the police, “It is better that disabled people disappear.”
The murderer had previously written:
I envision a world where a person with multiple disabilities can be euthanised, with an agreement from the guardians, when it is difficult for the person to carry out household and social activities.
I believe there is still no answer about the way of life for individuals with multiple disabilities. The disabled can only create misery. I think now is the time to carry out a revolution and to make the inevitable but tough decision for the sake of all mankind. Let Japan take the first big step.
You likely never heard about this mass murder; it barely made the mainstream news. Maybe the media is indifferent to the slaughter of individuals with disabilities? Or maybe violence perpetrated with guns and knives has just become all too familiar.
But there is also an indifference to another kind of violence, a kind of modern-day, insidious “lynching.” Violence of words can be experienced in today’s climate of cyberbullying on social media, or the inflammatory rhetoric that is spewing from some political figures, or exhibited on your “newscast”-du-jour.
For me, the painful takeaway is that society is not ready to accept diversity and differences among us. Not even close. And I choose not to set up my daughter for potential ridicule and mockery without the ability for me to defend her since she is unable to defend herself.
So, if you didn’t see the video before I deleted it, you missed out. Albeit just a snippet, it was adorable. And it might have helped others understand what it is like to be uniquely Ashley.
But these are scary times of violence, hate, and indifference.
And today, I hit “Delete.”
Today, I don’t care if you ever “get it.”