A friend has pointed out that during the Presidential debate last night, the conservative pundit Ann Coulter had tweeted this little gem of an insult to our President:
And she started a link-up on her blog, invited us, who have special needs children to tell her: "Dear @AnnCoulter: This is who you insult with your words" and share a picture of our child(ren) who may some day be (or already have been) called out with the term "retard."
Ann, here is my son Jacob, a beautiful 10 year-old boy with autism:
Spend five minutes with him and you'll know he is different. He is likely to ask you, over and over again, who Patrick Ewing is, or who the coach of the 1984 Celtics was. He is likely to get really excited and jump up and down and flap his hands as the feelings so move him. He is just as likely to carry on a conversation with your pet poodle as he is with you, should you be walking your dog down our street.
He would never call you or anyone else a "retard." He does not know what that word means, nor would he cruelly insult anyone on purpose. But you know better. And still, you do this.
I know you don't care. You have shown time and time again your willingness to use the meanest language you can just for the shock value, and because yours is the party of the top dogs, of the survival of the fittest, of only the wealthy 1 percent who counts and the rest of us can drop dead for all you really care.
You know that language matters, that language can hurt, diminish, dehumanize. It is not news when I tell you this. And I know, you still don't care. But still I must say it, must say that your use of the "R-word" as an insult is dead wrong and downright evil, and call on you to stop.
And, furthermore I must point out that it was completely inappropriate to so childishly name call a standing President of the United States. It has amazed me how many conservative Tea Party type Republicans, the kind who keep demonizing modern morality and call for a return to "old fashioned values" see nothing wrong with shredding the dignity of the Office of the President.
Even if they disrespect the man holding that office (and oh, they do) - he *IS* the elected leader of our nation, and thus even if they find fault with him, there should be a level of respect in the way he is discussed. They do not seem to care that they are reducing the status of the OFFICE of the President when they engage in their wholesale dismissal of the man. Getting in their licks seems more important than retaining the high regard of all the other nations on our planet.
And I cannot help but believe, deep into my bones, that this is racism, through and through. The dismissiveness with which he is spoken, the insulting, demeaning, diminishing and disrespectful language used toward President Obama, over and over, is the belittling kind of language used by people toward those they think of as "lesser" and the President's brown skin and African American heritage put him in that category in their minds, and thus free their vitriol to find a new low.
As nasty as the Right was toward Clinton, a different sort of language was used for their insults of him. Because he was white. No dancing around it. And I am sure if the President was a woman there would be an equal lack of respect in the tone used to cut her down to size.
I don't talk about politics much here in my blog, I am mostly a personal storyteller. But some things are too big and wrong to let stand, and thus I'm up on my soapbox today, concluding with this:
Ann Coulter, and the rest of you: stop being so racist in the way you speak of our President, and stop using language that hurts MY child, a boy with autism whose brain works differently than yours.
He is not a "retard," he is not less valuable than your neuro-typical kid.
And he is also something of great value that you are not: nonjudgmental. Kind.
Oh, and this is a blog-hop, so if you've written a post on this subject yourself, please add it on below!