I am pretty angry about Betsy DeVos and her decision to cut federal funding to the Special Olympics.
I believe that the responsibility of the government is to take care of its citizens. That is its sole function. It takes care of the citizens. We may disagree on the best way to do that or the focus of how to do that, but in the end, that is the government’s job.
It builds roads. It builds hospitals. It supports a police force. It provides schools. All in the service of the public good, because that is the primary goal of the government.
It also funds programs that, while they may be privately run, continue the government’s mission to protect and support its citizens.
The Special Olympics does this. Our society used to be such that the mentally disabled were locked away, shunned, hidden, locked up in institutions and forgotten. We have grown and progressed as a people to the point where we realize that this is unacceptable. You cannot lock up a human being just because they make you uncomfortable.
The Special Olympics provides a way for people with mental disabilities to be seen, to be heard and to be out there excelling.
Here’s their Mission Statement:
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
These are good works. They are doing good works. They are continuing to provide what our government should be providing: support for all of its citizens.
Secretary DeVos is showing that, once again, the Trump Administration does not support good works. The Trump Administration is not interested in supporting all of its citizens and given that President Trump mocked a disabled reporter while on the campaign trail, this is not surprising.
Once again, the Trump Administration proves it is an administration of cruelty and indifference. There is no argument that either the Administration or its supporters can put forward that will not convince me that they genuinely do not care about other people. To allow this, to put this forward as a valid way to save a few dollars, is vile and indefensible.
To agree with Secretary DeVos and the Administration is to agree that people who are disabled do not deserve a place in our society. It is saying that they should go back into the dark place, the secret places where they can be easily forgotten. Because this is just one more step backward, one more step away from the progress we have made to being a better society.
One more step in a continued march backward into history.
One thought on “An Education in Cruelty”
Dylan, great words! This one hits close to home so I am very much with you there about not one step back.