It’s not too difficult to be offended by all of the horrible things that Ann Coulter says, but what is remarkable is when someone is able to respond to her hateful bile with patience, elegance and poise. Scorpion Woman Coulter‘s recent casual and cruel use of the word “retard” during the final Presidential Debate had a lot of people rightfully pissed. Of course, the fired-up responses came pouring in, but honestly, it’s just feeding the troll, right? Luckily, someone was smart enough to give Coulter a thoughtful response that she definitely didn’t deserve.
After Colter tweeted this, athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stevens posted this compelling open letter on the Special Olympics website:
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
Special Olympics Virginia
While in a perfect world, Coulter would read this and publicly apologize for her careless remark, I’m not holding my breath. Ann Coulter (I consider her the female version of Rush) is really only famous and well-known for her hateful offensive speech, and while this is a heart-touching letter, I doubt it will reach the black shriveled up raisin in her chest cavity. Too harsh?
However, with that being said, I think a lot of people throw around this word so carelessly because they’re not aware of how hurtful it is. Even President Obama made a comment on a late-night talk show back in 2009, but he apologized profusely for it, as he should have. If you throw around that word in replacement of “stupid” or “idiot,” and someone jumps on you for using it, most people would be super aware and probably try to diminish it from their vernacular. I mean, there are a ton of other words you can use, right?
Lovelies, what do you think about Coulter’s comment and Mr. Stephens’ response? What do you think when people call someone a ‘retard’ or say that something is ‘retarded’?