Sunday, June 25, 2017

Disabled Protesters Just Showed Senate Democrats How It's Done

A disabled demonstrator is dragged from her wheelchair outside of the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as people gathered to protest Medicaid cuts, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC, June 22, 2017. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)
 By Kelly Hayes, Truthout
In a moment that profoundly encapsulated what the Trumpcare is all about, more than 40 people, including disabled protesters, were dragged from a Senate office hallway in Washington, DC on Thursday, leaving streaks of blood on the hallway floor. The scene was deeply disturbing, but it's one we should all feel compelled to confront, because it is the truth of what 24 million people could be up against, as of next week.
The protest was organized by ADAPT, a group focused on the direct-action efforts of disabled people. The group noted in its press release that the action was staged on the 18th anniversary of Olmstead v. L.C., a Supreme Court decision that affirmed the right of disabled people to live in the community. As the die-in commenced, outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office, participants chanted, "I'd rather go to jail than die without Medicaid."
Forty-three people were arrested, shortly after the GOP finally released the text of a bill that predictably outlined provisions that would destroy or end the lives of a great many people. The hallway strewn with empty wheelchairs, after disabled protesters were dragged from the premises, stood as a gut-wrenching reminder of what's at stake over the next week. The courage of those who were removed from that hallway on Thursday was a reminder of what this moment demands of us.
But here's the thing: The majority of those making sacrifices, and taking chances, are those who can least afford to do so: disenfranchised people, disabled people and those living on a fixed income. Have we chosen to be a society where, across the board, those most impacted by the issues we claim to care about are solely responsible for their own survival? Have we become so consumed by the American cult of self-oriented politics that we're incapable of fighting for each other's lives? If so, we have rendered ourselves incapable of forming any front wide or strong enough to save anyone.

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