This is a political post, but it is not meant to stir anything up or accuse anybody of anything. I beg everyone to NOT post anything antagonistic about EITHER candidate below this post, or anything negative about people who are on the opposite side from you.
Everybody is talking at the moment about the real possibility that Trump will win. I know many, many people hate Clinton, think she’s a liar or despise her for a variety of reasons. I’m not going to argue with anybody about that. I will simply state a fact.
For the last 21 years, Karen and I have literally lost sleep, tossing and turning in the middle of the night over and over, worrying about what will happen to our severely autistic son Ben when we die.
This is a virtually universal experience for parents like us. We all hope to outlive our children by one day. We are the unthinkable parents who want to outlive our children. We do not feel we can leave them alone on this Earth without us.
Karen and I are now among the extremely fortunate few who, for less than a year, after an extraordinary amount of work and some frankly lucky decisions, can have some peace of mind about that issue.
Ben is in a situation that is good enough that we possibly ― possibly ― will be able to die in peace, and believe Ben’s life won’t become an utter hell without us. This is absolutely literal.
And, it is 100 percent dependent upon our government. There is no other option.
Even if Hillary Clinton is the biggest liar on our planet and is a despicable person, nothing in her history suggests she would dismantle our government, or that she would be unpredictable in absolutely extreme ways.
I know many people feel that a shake-up of the government is necessary, and would be a good thing, and Trump would be the guy who would do that. For us, it could very well spell tragedy and disaster for Ben.
Anybody who has not been immersed in these issues has no idea of the fragility of Ben’s situation, and every other person who suffers a severe, lifelong disability like Ben.
It is already a mountainous challenge for families like us. Nothing that Trump has said or done in his life suggests that people like Ben would benefit from his leadership, and in fact could be seriously hurt by a Trump presidency.
This is not conjecture. This is knowing the functional if rickety system as it exists, and that would likely continue to exist under Clinton. The huge gamble that would be a Trump presidency would bring horrible odds for people like Ben.
Trump, in a way, HAS taken a position ― or typically for him, positions, plural ― on autism. He has come out as, first, anti-vaccination, and then as anti-multiple-vaccinations. But does anyone think that Trump has actually thought through these issues beyond his usual, “Clinton/The Establishment like’s ‘em so I hate ‘em”? Or that he would stick to his “convictions” if elected? Which convictions, anyway? What day is it?
And that’s it. The world has been creeping toward providing comprehensive autism services for those who want and need them, and research into the causes. It has taken a massive amount of work and money. This must continue.
Clinton has published an extensive position paper on autism. Trump? Nada.
On the broader issue disabilities, Trump likes to point out that he has spent big bucks on accommodations for the disabled. In the real world and not Trump-speak, this means he has done only what is required by law, after judges have had to order him to cough up in response to ADA lawsuits against his businesses’ violations of laws protecting those dealing with their disabilities.
But Trump’s most famous “statement” regarding disabilities has been his publicly mocking a reporter with arthrogryposis. He disdains anyone and anything he considers weak. Imagine a president with policies in line with eugenics?
So I am begging ― BEGGING ― everybody to consider people like Ben. The kind of shake-up Trump could bring gives me a knot of panic in my stomach when I think of Ben. I HAVE been losing sleep again, thinking about a world with Trump at the helm. The instability, the dissension, the unpredictability, the potential for destruction ― for Ben.
None of this is hypothetical. This is reality for people like Ben. This is not personal about what we think of people voting for Trump. This is personal for our family and specifically the most vulnerable member of our family, and the most vulnerable members of many people’s families.
At least do some serious research into this subject ― adults with chronic and severe disabilities. That is the least I would ask.
For no other reason, I beg you to not do anything that would increase the chances of Trump winning. I beg you for Ben. He has no idea what’s going on. But we do. And we are terrified.
Also on Huffington Post: Please, We BEG You, For Ben’s Sake, Keep Trump Out