Dedicating My No-Trump Vote
by Erin Belieu
I dedicate my No-Trump vote to my 15 year old son, Jude (and Jude heartily approves this message).
Jude was born with an extremely rare physical disability that impacts his speech profoundly. When Jude talks, it’s much like encountering someone with a heavy foreign accent. You have to actively listen when he speaks. Having Jude as my son has taught me this is not something most human beings are generally good at, or willing to do regularly.
But Jude, because of the circumstances into which he was born, is an exceptional listener. Which is why, despite his notably kind nature, Jude possesses the most finely tuned BS detector I have ever encountered in another human being. He has the gifts of attention that few of us ever develop as fully, and often sees into people with a grace and clarity that I find both beautiful, and slightly unnerving on occasion.
Jude now thinks he might like to be a political historian someday (either this, or a professional Pokemon gamer). So one of our daily pleasures is watching the news on MSNBC while making dinner together. This is what we were doing the first time we saw the video footage of Donald Trump viciously mocking a disabled reporter.
You remember that footage. How could any decent person not recall it? Trump was angry at being caught in yet another lie, having stated that thousands of Muslims in Jersey City celebrated the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. It was a despicable falsehood, meant to gin up more bigotry and violence against Muslim Americans.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, investigative reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who has a condition called Arthrogryposis, had the temerity to fact-check Trump’s blatant lie, sending Trump at a press conference into a long, breathtakingly ugly pantomime of Kovaleski’s physical disability.
It was a Jerry-Lewis-Meets-Biff-From Back-To-The-Future moment that might have been laughable—the most pointed demonstration of what an immature, self awareness-free zone Trump is—if it hadn’t been so astonishingly cruel.
I’m still a little beyond words to describe how that moment felt: watching my physically disabled son watching this creature who thinks he could be our president; Trump gleefully resorting to the most base, repugnant, schoolyard bullying behavior to attack a person who had simply dared to speak the truth to him.
But Jude, as usual, was very concise in his evaluation of Trump in that awful moment. All he said is, “That is a mean, sick man. He makes me sad.”
So I dedicate my No-Trump vote to Jude, and to the millions of souls daily managing their differences and disabilities in this world. I dedicate my No-Trump vote to the great strengths of the vulnerable, the underestimated, the frequently discounted, those who have most especially suffered at the hands of sick, cruel men throughout the centuries.
Trump wears his own disability—his debilitating lack of empathy, the narcissistic wound that grew him into such an obviously stunted soul—like a terrible badge for all to see. If we voters will choose collectively to see as clearly as Jude sees. If the American people will decide to simply listen.
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Crossposted with dedicateyournotrumpvote.blogspot.co.uk
About the Author:
Erin Belieu is the author of four books of poetry: Infanta (1995), selected by Hayden Carruth for the National Poetry Series; One Above, One Below (2000); Black Box (2006), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Slant Six (2014), which was chosen as one of reviewer Dwight Garner’s top ten books of the year in The New York Times. She is working on a memoir about raising a child with special needs.