Let me begin by saying that I am a 27-year-old male. For the last 10 years, I have had to endure a chronic pain syndrome with no cure and little understanding in the medical literature. My method of enduring is pain management and a highly limited lifestyle.
Why am I telling you this? Simply put, it leads into an important issue for this electoral year.
There are countless people like me who endure the misery of disability, be it physical or mental. We rely heavily upon Social Security Disability/SSI and other social services for our very survival. This year, forthe first time I can recall in my young life, we have a glut of candidates who feel politically secure in attacking these programs. They even vow to slash or eliminate them once elected.
This is so distressing because the disabled are, as a whole, easy targets. We aren't physically able to get out and protest these extreme views, and so they seem (to the public) like they're unopposed. These candidates never have to face us and deal with the hard questions about what happens to us when the programs are gone. It's easier to portray us as leeches from behind a podium.
For us, the solution isn't as simple as going to an emergency room (nor can we generally afford to). We need long term care administered by specialists in various fields. The University of Miami is the only place in the state with pain docs who know about my condition. It costs $300 just to get in the door, excluding the gas bill for a four hour round trip. Then, there's my meds. In short, I could never afford proper care if not for Medicaid and other help, and my bills are nothing compared to many.
I as prompted to post this by the headline of today's newspaper, which stated that Allen West is gaining big over Patrick Murphy in the polls. He's exactly the kind of guy people like us need to be afraid of.
When you go to the polls this year, arm yourself with knowledge as to what the candidates plan for the most vulnerable of your fellow citizens. Consider donating to advocacy groups. Your choices might well impact the lives of many people who already have it hard enough.