It Can’t Happen Here. Until It Does.
Yesterday, I found out what it’s like to be a target of the government. As a white, straight male, I never thought that they would come for me. How does it go?
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
You can insert whoever is currently being maligned or demonized in this cussed era of open white supremacy and it will still ring true. Everyone should read that and understand that we have a duty to come to each others’ aid when the chips are down, especially given the open hostility that characterizes this administration’s attitude (and to a larger degree, the right wing in general) to so many groups of ordinary folks trying to get by who aren’t always white, straight and male (throw Christian in there if you like).
You might be wondering: what is it about me that makes me a target?
I’m a veteran.
A disabled one.
Who’da thunk it, right?
You would think that any president of the United States would reflexively support wounded warriors or any fucking warriors, but President Trump clearly has no use for the troops or veterans except in the most perfunctory of ways.
And today, I don’t think I have a safe space on social media anymore because his administration wants to look at my accounts to determine whether or not I need my Social Security benefits anymore.
I have been a vocal critic of Trump on Facebook, and there’s pictures of me smiling and happy there. I know it’s hard to believe, but smiling and being happy on social media just might be one metric of how they determine whose benefits can be cut.
Both of those editorials linked above go into satisfactory detail about why this is an incredibly bad, wrongheaded and misguided way to cut fraud. We may be disabled, but that doesn’t mean we are miserable 24/7.
If this policy goes into motion, who’s to say that the Veteran’s Administration won’t use these metrics? Best practices say to assume that all agencies are politicized at this point. I’m sure Trump has seen on Fox that segment of a reserve major (and I am not denigrating his service, he did one more tour in the sandbox than I did) who worked for Bear-Stearns (and was under consideration for head of the VA) saying that those of us that cannot get a job at Bear-Stearns use too many benefits.
If any of this is successful at slashing my retirement benefits it will leave me and my family homeless and in bankruptcy should these arbitrary standards become a way to cheat the disabled from benefits they earned.
So I have decided to leave Facebook until I am assured that none of this will become policy. I don’t even know if it already has and I am not sticking around to find out. I am doing better these days, but I know bipolar disorder is waiting to attack if stress is applied. It’s never far away. I had to earn this reprieve from the disease, it took 13 years of medicinal wrong turns, hundreds of hours of therapy, and multiple trips to a locked ward to get where I am today. And I am lucky and grateful we have this safety net so for once I cannot be dogged my my illness. I have a right to be happier without Trump’s Gestapo bean counters misinterpreting that it’s a sign that I’m all better.
In the meantime, y’all let me know when I can be happy and safe again on social media. They won’t find me here in my tiny corner of the internet. No one can, come to think of it.