Recently I had a mild stroke that’s getting better, but I’ve got treatment for the foreseeable future in my life, not to mention I have to get around now with the aid of a walking stick. The stroke left me numb down my right side so I’m getting more back every day but I can’t really walk outside without the aid of the stick.
This has given me a perspective in how the disabled live, and how they put up with the bullshit from people that see the stick or disability and completely ignore it. Now I’m not that disabled, nor is my condition permanent (hopefully) but for now doing ordinary things like getting on the bus, or crossing the road is a big effort. Most people are however fine, some are fantastic. Most treat me with a bit of human decency.
A small number of people don’t A small number of people look at me and clearly judge as after all, without the stick from the outside I just look as if I’m moving slowly as I have a limp. A small number of people look at someone with a stick (as I am) and decide whether I’m ‘genuine’ or not. For example, yesterday on the bus I got on and there were no seats bar one, where a woman had piled all her shopping. I asked her if she could move so I could take the seat. She didn’t. She said she ‘couldn’t move’ her shopping. Everyone else saw this, nobody offered a seat, so I spent ten minutes being on my feet when I really should have been resting (post stroke fatigue is a bastard) but I refused to beg or show the fact I was fucked off.
There’s also the incidents today of middle class mothers trying to push their prams through me on Gloucester Road in Bristol. The fact I’ve got obvious mobility problems doesn’t seem to pass through their heads. Again though, most people are great such as the Turkish lads in my corner shop who offered me a seat.
But this is small fry. Most seriously disabled people put up with much, much worse than me. Looking at the rhetoric and narrative the Tories and the right wing press have put up over the last few years is it any wonder that so many people have become complete bastards? Is the like of Iain Duncan Smith helping the sick and disabled or is he actually demonising the most vulnerable? (it’s the latter).
Just look at the narrative the UK’s leading newspapers have built up over the years;
That’s the tip of a very unpleasant iceberg. If you’ve got the media drip feeding the idea that disabled people are ‘scroungers’, or by being treated for your disability or condition by the NHS you’re some sort of drain upon society then it’s not hyperbole to say that people are holding Nazi-like opinion.
As said though, most people are great or just ok. A chunk aren’t and it’s larger than I thought it’d be. In a supposed ‘liberal’ city like Bristol in a supposed advanced state like the UK I’d expect better but the fact is we’re letting the disabled down that in the year 2016 this is how some people act and think.