Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more

I know there are those who believe we should be quiet and hope Ann Coulter goes away.  I know there are those who say we should rise above it, that we should not lower ourselves to her level.   I know there are those that believe giving her the attention she craves is playing into her hand. I know also that there are those saying to stop talking about it because this detracts from the “real issues.”

I know all of this. However, I wonder, do they know ME? Seems doubtful; if they did, they would know that I cannot and will not be quiet. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

First, this has nothing to do with the election.  In 11 days, one of two men will be elected President of the United States. Then the election will be over. But in 12, 13, 15 and 100 days my daughter will still be disabled and mean spirited people will still mock her, some because Ann Coulter says it’s ok. This is as real an issue as there can be for my daughter and her peers.

 I have the same right to freedom of speech that Ann Coulter has and, as a bonus, I happen to have manners and decency as well. I think that gives me a slight edge and I plan to continue to speak out against the use of this word and defend a group of people who are not always able to defend themselves.  That is precisely the reason she picks on this particular group, she is relying on the fact that they are powerless to rise up against her.

 She is wrong. The best response came from a John Franklin Stephens, a man with intellectual disabilities in the form of an open letter to Ms. Coulter.   To my knowledge, she has not responded directly to this letter.  In addition, those disabled individuals who are not as articulate or able as Mr. Stephens have brothers and sisters, mothers and father, grandparents and cousins, nieces and nephews, teachers and classmates and friends and neighbors who will stand up and speak for them. I am proud to count myself among them.

In the days since her infamous tweet, wherein she referred to the President of the United States as a "retard,"  Ann Coulter has repeatedly defended her use of this word. Part of her rationale: she did not use it to describe a person with “mental challenges’ (her words) rather she used it in what she considers the proper way, which is to describe a “loser.”   She puts this word in the same category as moron or imbecile or other such words that once had a clinical definition. 

I will not stand by and allow Ann Coulter- of all people - to redefine when it is ok to use the “R” word just so she can sell more books to other mean spirited people who want to read what she has to say. Perhaps in 100 years this word will be so archaic as to be acceptable, but it is not today.  This word is hurtful and offensive and everyone knows it. Even Ann Coulter knows it but she is trying to change the conversation to make this into something other than her purposeful attempt to insult the Office of the President of the United States and the most vulnerable group of citizens.

 She talks about political correctness and whining. She agrees the “N” word is not okay but dismisses any similarity to that argument. She also argues that if we keep challenging words based on “political correctness” there will be a huge book of words we cannot use. I have news for her, that  book already exists under several names, “Good Citizenship”,” Common Decency” or “How to get ahead using Good Manners.”  I doubt she has read any of them.  Further, no one is telling her she CANNOT use it, but we can object to it and perhaps she will tire of the objections and change her vocabulary or begin to realize how very very moronic she sounds.  

Finally, to Ms. Coulter’s assertions that people representing the disabled community are simply a bunch of whining liberals I will say this:  Disability is truly equal opportunity. It knows no political, racial, religious or any other limitations. This is not a political issue. This is not an issue of conservative or liberal. I do not believe for one minute that Ann Coulter speaks for my many decent friends who happen to have a different political outlook than I do.

If you want to pick sides, identify them correctly.  This is not conservative vs. liberal; this is decency and kindness vs.callousness and greed.

Take action. Write to your newspapers and favorite websites. Tell others to do the same. Rise up and be heard and tell Ann Coulter to sit down and shut up. Tell the televisions shows that pay her that you will not watch their shows if she is a part of it and tell their sponsors you will not buy their products. Tell others to do the same. If she is impervious to appeals to her decency, perhaps we can hurt her where she will feel it – in the wallet.

Let her know that this vulnerable group of Americans and the people that love them are mad as hell and they won’t take it any more.

If you need some courage, watch Peter Finch in Network. 

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