It was brought to my attention today that I blasted the National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia over some recent comments she made in regards to students with disabilities while remaining completely mum on Donald Trump’s mockery of a New York Times reporter with a disability. This is very true. As I explained to my friend, I expected more out of the leader of the largest teachers union in the country than Donald Trump. I expect Donald Trump to say and do stupid things at times that don’t make any logical sense. But both actions offended not only the disability community but many in America as well. I was very offended about Trump’s actions. I also found out about his actions on Thanksgiving Day. Had it been any other day, I most likely would have written about it, but it was a holiday and the only post I put up was things to be thankful for. A few days later, I found out about the NEA President’s comments. This was also immediately after I saw her urging all the teachers in the NEA to contact members of Congress to pass the “Every Student Succeeds Act”, which I do not support.
In the interest of fairness, I do not condone Trump’s actions by any stretch of the imagination. Even more insulting was the fact that he did not apologize for his actions but rather insisted he doesn’t mock those with disabilities. Today, The Daily Beast wrote an article about Trump’s history with the Americans With Disabilities Act and it is a very long and egregious list.
In terms of Lily Eskelsen Garcia’s comments, I truly believed along with many others that she used the term “chronically tarded” in a speech, along with the words “medically annoying” in describing things teachers in America have to deal with on a daily basis. She has since issued a formal apology, via Youtube, explaining she was saying “chronically tardy” and why she used the term “medically annoying”. She recognized her choice of words in the speech was not the best decision and I respect that immensely.
The difference between two similar actions could not have been more distinct and clear. One apologized, the other made excuses. One is redeemed in my eyes, the other is not. In this very odd and peculiar battle of Lily Eskelsen Garcia vs. Donald Trump, she wins by a landslide!