American Exceptionalism Is Hurting Disabled People

It’s no wonder the three groups who seem to be mostly criticizing Simone Biles and her bold stance to stop competing at the Tokyo Olympics are racists, dudebros and some Boomers. I give Boomers a lot of crap, but I will say many Boomers I’ve seen are showing support. And thank you for your support as the old advertisement went.

Unfortunately, the racists and the dudebros (who are mostly one and the same) have continually voiced their opposition. It’s mostly because many of them have been taught there’s no such thing as quitting and losing is one of the worst things you can do in your life.

Therefore, even when the shit does hit the fan or things go south in a major way, there’s some good coming out of it. We call it a silver lining. But it’s not always a good thing.

American Exceptionalism has engrained in some people they’re never wrong, never prejudiced, never sexist, and never did anything bad in the long run.

That’s why they like stories about people like Lance Armstrong who continue to compete in the Tour De France while having testicular cancer. But when it came out he had been using steroids, we got angry. Other athletes use steroids but they are almost forgiven and it’s all forgotten.

Why do we still feel angrier at Armstrong even after he rebounded from cancer? Because we believed in him, right? He did it all through suffering from an illness. Even the name signifies endurance.

Unfortunately, a lot of people who have cancer can’t even get on a stationary bike for too long.

Cancer is a major motherfucker to our bodies. But yet, we expect people to remain chipper and have a “Can Do” attitude. It’s bullshit! All this “Bucket List” nonsense is setting a bad example. Arthur Ashe had a bucket list. He said he wanted to do two things – see his daughter graduate and escort her down the aisle at her wedding.

He never got to do neither. Ashe died of AIDS-related pneumonia during the winter of 1993.

I remember watching a documentary of a man who has terminal cancer and he goes off on his daughter for a minor thing. It’s hard to watch but for people who have had loved ones and friends around them suffer from cancer, it probably speaks volumes. Imagine having a death sentence? How would you behave?

I’m sure people watching Million Dollar Baby were left wondering how Margo Martindale’s character could be so cruel and uncaring to her daughter, played by Hillary Swank, especially after she was a quadriplegic and suffering from pressure sores. But the disabled are treated that way.

I was in a bookstore many years ago in which a woman, possibly a caregiver or parent, was really getting angry at a young woman in a wheelchair, after her wanting a book. I didn’t know what was going on, but I came very close to going over and telling this woman what the holy fuck her problem was.

There’s a godawful movie, Things Are Falling Apart, released about 10 years ago starring 50 Cent as a college football athlete who gets cancer and everyone around just gets angry at him for having terminal cancer, losing the ability to exercise and work out and even losing his muscle mass.

Terminal illness, be damned, you should still do three sets of 10 of military press every other day.

Yes, let’s quilt people into hurting themselves more just so we can feel better about ourselves.

The philosophy is all the same. “Americans aren’t weak.’ There’s no reason to show any sign of weakness. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” “Pain don’t hurt.”

So, that’s why it’s useless to talk to some people about how you really feel. They don’t want to listen. People don’t ask for help because they’re afraid of being a bother. They don’t ask for help because they know they’re not going to get any.

I will say this, I have noticed more younger people who are willing to help me out, even if it’s just holding a door open. All this talk from Boomers and even you older Xers about how the younger generations are rude is not true.

Even better, they’re beginning to see the faults in the system. They’re not embracing American Exceptionalism. They’re understanding that disabled people can’t run the Boston Marathon and sometimes going to check the mail at the end of their driveways is all they can do.

Earlier this month, my step-niece was in a traffic accident in Houston. She’s got compression fractures in her lower back and is sore. She’s wearing a back brace but things could’ve been worse.

I hope she has no permanent injuries like me, but it just goes to show that you can get seriously hurt at any time. And nothing good comes out of it.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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