With Donald Trump’s assault on the poor underway, I’ve been thinking about how to fight back. This is an issue for me because I am poor. There, I said it. I am poor.
A lot of poor people don’t like to admit it. And other people don’t necessarily like to hang out with poor people. But I am poor because I am a person living with schizophrenia and am on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is a form of disability.
I get about $720.00 per month to live on and with that I’m not able to live on my own or even have a car at the moment.
How can I fight the good fight if I can’t even get anywhere? How can I organize, help other poor people, and get together with them if I can barely get out of my parents’ house?
And that’s the thing about poverty: It’s freedom reducing. That’s one reason why poverty is a social ill that should be eliminated. It restricts one’s ability to freely associate, to travel even a little, to care for oneself, to thrive in general.
Donald Trump and company don’t see it that way, however. Sure, they may think they are trying to get rid of poverty because they think we just need incentives to work, but the majority of people living in poverty are children, seniors and disabled people. In other words, people who can’t work. For us, we need a safety net that’s going to keep us afloat.
I’m lucky in some ways, though. I have access to the internet via my parents. And I have friends who also have internet and are poor like me. We may not be able to get together, but we can Skype to organize. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I have been Skyping with one friend in particular in order to figure out how to stop the assault on Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs that are desperately needed.
That’s why I’m writing this today. I need you on board with me. If you are reading this, you may be living in better circumstances than I am and cutting Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs may not affect you personally. But I need allies. I need all sorts of allies. My friends and I agree on this.
So while you entertain Trump’s latest outlandish tweet, remember that he is doing much more than tweeting. He is putting together an administration that is hell bent on destroying our social safety nets. And remember my voice: One of the affected. Sign a petition, raise your voice, talk with your friends. Do what you can because you know I cannot. I would be at a rally right now were it not for the fact that I am basically not mobile at this time. If we cherish freedom, like we say we do, keep what freedoms I have extended to me and join me in keeping Social Security and our social safety nets alive and strong.