Dear Ann Coulter of the Day: After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a retard in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:
Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.
I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.
After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet, John Franklin Stephens Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia
@hopelessjen had mentioned this to me, but I’d been avoiding reading it. Then I saw that Wil Wheaton had reblogged it, and gave it the time it deserves.
My sister has Downs. She’s moderate Downs, as opposed to more severe cases. She is one of the most genuinely sweet, gracious, loving, and openly affectionate people I’ve ever met. My experience with other people with Downs has proven that my sister isn’t the exception, but the rule.
I’ve been thinking about Coulter, too. I’ve been thinking that she cannot possibly believe in any of the things she claims to believe in other than money, period, full stop, because that hypocrisy would be self-annihilating. Any espousing of so-called “core values” would demand meeting the world with the grace and courtesy, the forgiveness and love, those who tout the phrase would like to claim. She patently doesn’t. Her job, as others have remarked, is to Make News. But her belief in money over all, that explains the behavior perfectly - she is a mercenary, and she’s found a company that compensates her work as a sniper accordingly.
I’ve yet to read a story, fact or fiction, where a mercenary met a happy end.