Ann Coulter’s tweet was unacceptable
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 19:10
Twitter is a beast. A dangerous, thrilling beast. To me, Twitter is the ultimate expression of freedom of speech.
Think about it: it’s a social media platform designed for you to say whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s the most narcissistic invention of the 21st century, and I am shamelessly a part of the fad.
I was crushed to read a tweet from Ann Coulter in which she refers to President Obama as, in her words, a “retard.” Her tweet said, “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”
Coulter has as much of a right to the First Amendment as I do. She’s free to support the political party and candidate of her choice.
Ann Coulter is in the eye of the media. Her staunchly conservative values and disdain for democrats and liberals is no surprise to us.
But politics and law aside, I believe Coulter should be painfully ashamed of herself.
I don’t know if it was out of seething hatred or pure ignorance (or both), but I can’t for the life of me figure out why she’d say something like that.
Maybe she wants people to react to it. Maybe she is that starved for attention. Maybe she has no concern for the people she hurt.
Regardless of your personal opinion, using words like “retard” in a derogatory way is offensive and hurtful, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you. Bottom line, it is a big deal.
You may scoff at people who get their knickers in a twist over who are offended by words such as “retard,” but the fact remains you are hurting people who have done absolutely nothing to deserve being hurt by your words.
She may have thought her message was about politics, but bashing President Obama by using an insulting term to disabled people showed an all-time low for me as far as social media in the election goes.
Her message sparked 30-year-old John Franklin Stephens, a gentleman with Down syndrome, to post and open letter to her on the Special Olympics Blog. In my opinion, he said some of the wisest words I’ve heard in a long time:
“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.”
I hope she takes his advice. I’ve worked at basketball tournaments for the Special Olympics as well as a special needs summer camp, and I believe wholeheartedly people with physical handicaps like Down syndrome are some of the kindest, most honest people I’ve ever known. I have tremendous amounts of admiration and respect for them.
And I think Stephens showed more wisdom and class than someone as “smart” as Coulter.
If I were Gov. Romney, I’d be upset. Coulter affiliating with Romney could affect some of his voters’ opinions. Let the damage control begin.
Words can change the world. There is power in the written word. Don’t take the power of your influence on others for granted. And Ann Coulter, grow up.