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Using the Disabled as Political Tools


On a cold afternoon in mid-March 2020, when the entire world began to shut down, “just for two weeks to flatten the curve,” I got the call that my disabled son’s March Break respite camp was canceled, “for his safety.” It was the first clue that the world of most disabled persons—especially disabled children—was about to become infinitely smaller and more constricted, and exponentially more cruel.

The rigid and frequently sadistic coronavirus mask and vaccine mandates went on to disproportionately affect the disabled. Parents of autistic children were forced off airplanes while those who could not wear masks or could not be vaccinated were denied service in public and private spaces.

Such people were often forbidden from entering hospitals to be with sick relatives and denied life-saving transplants and other medical treatments all in the name of safety, for their health, apparently. Disabled children across the globe, denied the services that painstakingly help them achieve the skills they need to exist, were forced to stay home, their families forced to watch as day after day they lost basic skills like speaking and feeding themselves.

And more often than not, the more blue the state, the more draconian its regulations became.

The political Left was utterly indifferent to the collateral damage of mask mandates and lockdowns on the disabled. It was only when mandates began to be lifted that blue state public policy and public health mandarins pivoted abruptly on their mask narrative and began claiming that they were necessary to protect the disabled and vulnerable.

So I am sure I am not the only relative of a disabled person who has been sickened by the absolute gall of the Left to now act like they are the defenders of the disabled in the wake of the train wreck Pennsylvania senatorial debate between John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz.

John Fetterman suffered a stroke just before his primary election, which he won. Ever since, Fetterman’s campaign, together with the mainstream media, has worked diligently and tirelessly to cover up the extent of John Fetterman‘s post-stroke cognitive disabilities. And if anyone dared to point out Fetterman’s difficulties, they were smeared as “abelist” by the Left. “Cable News Has Ableist Meltdown Over John Fetterman’s Recovery From Stroke” read a typical headline.

But the full extent of Fetterman’s difficulty processing speech was broadcast live to the American people during Tuesday night’s debate in a reveal that cannot be unseen. It wasn’t just Fetterman’s post-stroke difficulties that were on display, though; the media’s role in hiding them became suddenly very apparent.

To defend themselves, they doubled down on the ablist smears. The problem, they now claim, is not that the man who is running for the Senate is clearly neurologically impaired and not fit to serve. Hell no! The problem is that nasty conservatives and Republicans are intolerant of the disabled and shame on them! Fetterman was brave, they insist, and anyone who doubts his competency is a eugenicist Nazi!

They are once again revealing more than they might wish. The truth is, the political Left is interested in the disabled only when it serves their political interests.

Pennsylvania is a key state in a critical midterm year. There is no way the Democrats and their media operatives are going to let this battle go without a fight. Why should they? An obviously, significantly cognitively impaired, physically and mentally frail geriatric individual is occupying the White House. Why wouldn’t the Democrat machine apply the same strategy in this critical Senate race?

Stroke schmoke. What matters to them is not protecting the dignity of a disabled person or demonstrating human compassion. If that were the case, both Joe Biden and John Fetterman would be “allowed” to exit political life immediately and gracefully. They would be granted their dignity. Alas, what matters is power.

Some leftists loathe the disabled. I learned that the hard way during the COVID lockdowns. But when it is politically expedient, they will happily and shamelessly pretend otherwise.

This cynical and disgraceful anti-human machination of the Left was exposed to sunlight in the Fetterman-Oz debate. It’s truly disgusting, transparent, and cruel and it needs to stop.

Republished from Newsweek

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Laura Rosen Cohen

    Laura Rosen Cohen is a Toronto writer. Her work has been featured in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Jerusalem Post, The Jerusalem Report, The Canadian Jewish News and Newsweek among others. She is a special needs parent and also a columnist and the official In House Jewish Mother of internationally best-selling author Mark Steyn at

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