AuthorErvin, Mike

I have a friend who's a Republican, which is exceedingly befuddling to me. I can't fathom why anybody's a Republican these days--especially this guy, who's as disabled as I am, perhaps more so.

For our purposes here today, I feel compelled to give my friend a pseudonym. He probably wouldn't care if I used his real name. He's out of the closet when it comes to being a Republican. He wears it on his sleeve. But accusing someone of being a Republican seems like a mighty harsh charge, even if it's true. I don't feel I have the license to disparage anyone publicly like that, especially a friend.

And who knows, maybe someday he'll come to his senses and change his mind. If so, I'd like him to be able to make a clean break. If he ever wants to erase all traces of his Republican past, I wouldn't want to be in any way responsible for making that as onerous and painful for him as getting rid of a hideous tattoo.

So I am going to call my friend Ishmael. And before we proceed any further, Ishmael would probably insist that I make it clear to you that even though he is a solid Republican, he strongly disagrees with the direction the squatter currently occupying the White House is taking things. In the interest of fairness, I will do that. We all have the right to define ourselves how we wish to be defined.

But I would argue that you can't forsake the squatter and still be a Republican. Ishmael thinks the squatter is a cement-headed racist who drastically distorts what the GOP is all about. That's funny, because I think the squatter is a cement-headed racist who precisely symbolizes what the GOP is all about. Ishmael worries that the squatter may very well destroy the Republican Party. That's funny, too, because that's the only thing I like about the squatter. It's the only thing about him that gives me hope.

Anyway, Ishmael is wise and funny. He's a lawyer. Part of what he does is help people straighten out their Social Security problems. He lives in New York City. He's about ten years younger than me. And, like me, he rides around in a motorized wheelchair and employs a crew of people to help him get dressed and out of bed, go to the bathroom, et cetera.

Though Ismael and I live in different states, the wages of our workers are paid by state programs created to help disabled folks live in the community rather than in institutions. So the services of our workers don't cost us anything except what we pay in state taxes, like everyone. We could never...

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