The American Health Care Act (and all the cuts to Medicaid and other bad things for us disabled people therein) passed the House of Representatives despite calls and protests from advocates. This is a harsh lesson in politics for many self-advocates and parents who think we can do things the way we used to.

Disabled people and families need to accept that the GOP doesn't care

I hate to break it to a lot of you but the #AHCA is just the latest example of Republicans ignoring the #Disability community (I include parent advocates in it as well). We called day and night and told them not to pass this monstrosity. We bombarded them with facts and figures.

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We told them our stories. We explained that if pre-existing conditions returned, it would be nearly impossible for us to get health care. We told them about waiting on high-risk pools that were chronically underfunded. We talked about how Medicaid and the ACA improved our lives. This didn't matter.

This is not exactly a surprise. Self-advocates and parents weren't thrilled about the confirmation of Betsey DeVos, who said that the enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act should be left up to the states. She later pleaded ignorance. This worried many parents of disabled kids on both sides of the aisle. They know that given the choice, states would simply choose not to educate their kids. #Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, who had made several disability unfriendly rulings that concerned many parents.

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Yet many parent and self-advocate groups were surprised when they were roundly ignored.

Some disability and parent advocates come from different era

A lot of parents, though they aren't fans of the passage of the AHCA, voted for Donald Trump. Perhaps it's because they didn't think that he would be as bad as disability rights activists said he would be (and is definitely going out of his way to confirm). While I think this may be part of it, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that many advocates are still doing things the old way and still want to believe the old way works. Back in the 80's and 90's, both parties agreed with things advocates were asking for. The main disagreement was how to go about doing it. So advocates could talk, make friends with representatives on both sides of the aisle and still see progress.

That's no longer the case with today's far-right. The Republicans have decided that disability rights shouldn't be a thing anymore.Treating the disabled with decency is now considered "political correctness" by the far-right rather than the right thing to do.

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Don't believe me? They're pushing for laws that would make it harder for us to assert our rights granted to us by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Donald Trump is planning to slash Medicaid by nearly a billion dollars. This would have the effect of forcing many of us back into nursing homes and some of us would die outright. He placed a judge on the Supreme Court who applied the absolute loosest standards possible when it comes to what constitutes progress for special education students (before it was justly overturned). The new Secretary of Education may not actually believe that disabled students deserve to be in the classroom.

If you want pro-disability government you must vote for it

What I see from a number of people, especially parents of disabled people, is the belief that they can have it both ways. They believe that they can vote for representatives that are openly hostile to the notion of disability rights but can still get the things they want for us if they showed said representatives enough facts, figures and inspirational stories. That is the old way of doing things. The old way is dead. Showing facts, figures and stories to this generation of far-right politicians is an exercise in futility. Judging by their recent votes and legislation, many of them legitimately don't think we deserve to exist. Reason doesn't work on people who don't think we qualify as people.

There is only one way to get a government that isn't actively hostile towards us. Parents and self-advocates must vote for disability-friendly representatives up and down the ballot. If you want Medicaid to be preserved, you have to vote for it. If you want us to get health care, you have to vote for it. If you want to see the ADA enforced, you have to vote for it. If you want improved special education, you have to vote for it. If you want to see us go further than just trying to defend what we've gained in the last 30 years from people who think disability rights is an affront to their "freedom" to treat us like dirt, you have to vote for it. Letters don't work. Personal stories don't work. Voting does. Vote for it as if your life (or your child's as the case may be) depends on it. It does.