Op-Ed: What Message Does ‘Trump Train’ Send to the Community?
by Dr. Jessica Edwards
New Braunfels Family Medicine Practitioner
Zara Medical Aesthetics
As a person of color in this community who was raised a conservative, I am not sure what to think about the weekly demonstrations in support of the re-election of President Donald Trump because it’s hard to know what these events stand for.
The current administration is delaying the processing of over 100 H1-B visas of doctors from other countries who were set to start their residency training in July to provide medical care in our great country.
Did you know that those doctors are more likely to provide care in medically underserved areas such as ours?
The average primary care physician has over 2,000 patients and what a difference of adding even one more provider would mean for our community.
Thinking about the disparities that transcend race and ethnicity in Comal County such as the lack of Medicaid and Medicare providers or even providers in general who are accepting new patients, I find myself wondering how this will improve when the data shows that the doctors more likely to accept Medicaid and Medicare are older doctors and those of color.
In addition, my concern is not about the gesture itself but potential unintended consequences:
- What does this message send to those in our community who share different political views?
- Does this ostracize the people of color who have been negatively affected by some policies of the administration?
- What message does this send to people of color who are considering moving to our community? Will they feel welcome?
- Does this send the message to a potential subset of these event-goers who may want to incite violence against people of color?
“Political affiliation does not have to translate into disenfranchisement.” –Dr. Jessica Edwards
Did you know that 70 percent of Black voters consider themselves moderate or conservative, but 88 percent vote Democrat? What is the disconnect? I was very disappointed that Herman Cain was not even mentioned at the Republican National Convention and he dedicated his life’s work to the Republican Party. When it comes to addressing systemic racism, only 31 percent of Republicans believe that systemic racism exists, while 69 percent believe that police shooting of unarmed citizens by police are isolated incidents.
In addition, 92 percent of white police officers believe that equality has been achieved by Black Americans while 68 percent of Black police officers say that there is more work to be done. I believe these statistics create a daunting but achievable task of us working together across party lines to achieve equity and accountability for all Americans in this country.
Many of you may not know, but when I attended the Black Lives Matter Protest in downtown New Braunfels a couple of months ago, I went against the advice of many friends and patients. They were not afraid of protests and rioting but they were afraid of the intimidation from members of the community who had re-election flags for the president flying high on their vehicles with their guns in hand.
I went during my lunch break, participated in the peaceful demonstration, and before I left, I thanked every single police officer who was there and shook their hand. I thanked them for allowing the protest. I thanked them for not being intimidating. I thanked them for passing out waters and most of all, I thanked them for making me feel safe.
When I think of the phrase Black Lives Matter, I think of education funding differences, over-policing in inner-city communities, housing discrimination, the fact that black women are 3x more likely to die in childbirth regardless of education status as well as the fact that Black Americans were dying from COVID at a 3x higher rate than other groups.
While I am not affiliated with the organization itself, I feel every syllable of the phrase.
From hearing my parents and other family members talk about their experience with the civil rights movement and seeing people sprayed with water hoses while protesting peacefully, to thinking about protests of today (some of which have gone violent) with no significant policy changes, I am personally tired of protests.
I am even more tired of the fact that a vast majority of them are peaceful and yet the ones that are not, make headline news. I want policies to change and I want accountability for bad police officers and protections for good ones.
I now consider myself a moderate and not directly affiliated with any political party but I would urge those who are attending the demonstrations to really think about the message that is being sent to our community and how these events can become more inclusive of minorities within our community.
Political affiliation does not have to translate into disenfranchisement.
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