Saturday, July 08, 2017

A Tale of Two Children

A couple of days ago Donald Trump made news by offering help to the parents of Charlie Gard, a British baby with a terminal genetic disease that is turning his DNA into mush. Trump supporters are spinning it as "The evil doctors in the British National Health Service want to pull the plug on the kid. But Donald Trump has a heart!"

But there are thousands of kids like Charlie Gard here in the United States. Kids whose parents can't afford to pay for their medical treatments and would go bankrupt without Obamacare, which is literally giving them a lifeline.

One such parent is Alison Chandra, a pediatric nurse whose son Ethan was born with heterotaxy, a condition that leaves a child's insides a jumble of organs: two left lungs, five spleens, and nine congenital heart defects.

Chandra posted a picture of her son's medical bill on the Internet with the following tweet: "It seems fitting that, with the #TrumpCare debate raging, I got this bill in the mail today from Ethan's most recent open heart surgery."

Some of the responses were supportive, but others were vile, hitting back at Chandra for daring to criticize Trump and the Republicans' repeal of Obamacare:
They came at me swinging, picking fights I’d never asked for. They called me ungrateful, a thief, a lazy mooch, an attention whore.

The attacks became increasingly personal and increasingly violent. Strangers were telling me it would have been cheaper to make a new kid.
I was offered a .22 bullet, although I’m still not sure whom he meant it for, me or my child. One man took me up on the challenge I’d posed in the thread and declared that my son just wasn’t worth keeping alive anymore. There was even a percentage of the comments dedicated to the belief that I was a foreigner or, worse, a terrorist, which is when I started asking news outlets to use my full name: Alison, not Ali, since people seemed unable to believe that I was, in fact, a white chick from New Jersey. 
Why do Trump supporters swoon when he feigns interest in the fate of some foreign child who is almost certainly doomed (Charlie's very DNA is kaput), yet send death threats to an American citizen whose child actually has a shot at life when she graphically expresses an opinion on the what the effects of the Republican health care plan will be for American kids?

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