Kurt Eichenwald is a writer for Newsweek who has been relentlessly filing stories about Trump's twisted business dealings. In response, Trump's neo-Nazi fans have been harassing him, sending him death threats, and calling him a "kike" a "fag" and a "pedo." Trump fans have even gone after one of his sons online.
Eichenwald also has epilepsy, and one of Trump's fans posted a tweet addressed to him containing a video link that was designed to hurt Eichenwald.
Throughout my adulthood, I have never made a secret of the fact that I have epilepsy. It’s better controlled now than it has been during other parts of my life, but not completely—my neurologist tells me I have intractable epilepsy, meaning treatment will never bring the condition fully under control. I know how people—particularly children—with seizures suffer when uninformed idiots suggest they should impose limits of their lives or quell their aspirations.
So when Fox News blowhard and college dropout Sean Hannity practically drooled in delight this election season as he falsely proclaimed that Hillary Clinton suffered from seizures based on her acting goofy in a short video clip, it infuriated me. I knew how his message would be heard—people with seizures look ridiculous, they should be afraid of others laughing at them, they should listen to the voices telling them they can’t do what they want (even be president). And so I raged at Hannity in the pages of Newsweek, on cable television news shows and on Twitter.
A couple of weeks later, after my article about how Trump’s business interests would create a conflict of unprecedented proportions, I received a tweet from someone with the twitter handle “Mike's Deplorable AF.” Like many Trump supporters, he has chosen to identify himself as deplorable to mock the label once used by Clinton to describe the racists, neo-Nazis, homophobes and like who have crawled out of the sewer to cheer for the Republican nominee. Mike, however, is indeed deplorable.
In his tweet, which has since been deleted, Mike made mention of my seizures and included a small video. It contained images of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that has been identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate symbol. I was carrying my iPad, looking at the still image on the video and, without thinking, touched the PLAY button.
The video was some sort of strobe light, with flashing circles and images of Pepe flying toward the screen. It’s what’s called epileptogenic—something that triggers seizures. Fortunately, since I was standing, I simply dropped my iPad to the ground the second I realized what Mike had done. It landed face down on the bathroom floor.This is very sinister. This goes beyond threats with words to an attempt to harm a person physically. I hope that Eichenwald has contacted the police about this.
And this action fits perfectly with Trump's verbal attacks on people with disabilities (think of how he mocked the New York Times reporter, Serge F. Kovalevskil, who has arthrogryposis, "which limits the functioning of his joints"), and his obsession with being and appearing to be strong and not weak. I keep thinking of the Nazis and how they attacked people with disabilities because they weakened the "racial stock" of Germany. Trump appears to have the same attitude. (To differentiate him from the Nazis, he has of course not suggested that people with disabilities be executed).
I'm also reminded of when I was a child in the 1960s, before the era of mainstreaming. In my elementary school there were a couple of classrooms for children who would now be called developmentally delayed, whom the school called retarded, and whom we, the other children, called retards. They were mercilessly mocked whenever they appeared in the hallways. There was no sense that they were just children, like us - no, they were despised. A girl in one of my classes who had a stutter was made fun of constantly and kept out of the circle of the "popular" girls. Even when I went to high school mockery of people with disabilities continued. In my "alternative" high school, one of the students wore very thick glasses and had a lot of trouble seeing. I remember him sitting at a table and being mocked by my classmates - even at the "cool" alternative school. It was disgusting. It seems that Trump wants to haul us back to the time when it was funny to call people "retards" and okay to bully and harass people with disabilities.