Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

Dear Ann,
I don’t usually get “political” on this blog, but I feel compelled to respond to your recent Twitter comment, even though by now, what with the 24-hour news cycle and all that, it’s old news. You said after the last debate, “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.” Let’s look at the two reasons this is such a despicable comment.

First, you’re insulting the President of the United States. Okay, we all love the First Amendment, which gives us the right to call the President just about anything we want. Heck, I called George W. Bush an “idiot” on more than one occasion. But there’s something particularly insidious about the “R-word”. Let’s face it: no matter what you think about Barack Obama and his first term in office, he is an intelligent man. Insulting his intelligence will get you nowhere. I have to digress a little and comment on the attitudes I’ve witnessed in the last four years. I have never seen such disrespect and utter vitriol for a president as I have seen for this man – a deep-seated hatred that for the most part he does not deserve. And it doesn’t take a sociologist to know where much of it is coming from. You may disagree with him, but for God’s sakes, he is not a Muslim, a communist, a subhuman (as depicted in some execrable cartoons), and he is, I repeat, is, a U.S.-born citizen. I have never seen a president hung in effigy by his own citizens like I have with this one. (And I don’t need to point out the other connotations of that display.) I have to say, Ann, you must relish feeding this hatred with the use of that word.

Second, the word itself is reprehensible. Inexplicably, it’s become fashionable as a general insult among young folks. Maybe you thought because you have a Twitter account and used it, it made you look “cool”. You’re not. These days, even “mentally retarded” is considered un-PC, so “retard” is even worse – it’s a slur, no matter how it’s used, almost as bad as the “N-word”.

Let me tell you a little story. When I was in fifth grade, there was a developmentally-disabled boy in our class that my friends and I made fun of on the playground. Our teacher heard about this and gave the three of us a long, stern lecture on treating others with respect and dignity, which I remember to this day, some fifty years later. I never used the R-word again. Maybe if you’d had a lecture like that in your youth, Ann, you wouldn’t be the mean-spirited human being you are today.

The backlash to your comment has been amazing, not so much in support of the president as of the millions of developmentally-challenged individuals who deserve more than the indirect slap in the face that you gave them. I’ve read some eloquent statements on the matter from them and their families, and I couldn’t possibly have said it better, so I won’t try.

In conclusion, Ann, I don’t expect you, a standard-bearer for the right wing, to like Barack Obama. So vote against him, and encourage your friends to do the same, just as I will encourage my friends to vote for him. But stop calling the man, or anyone else in this precious world, a “retard”. Because you know what? It’s not just a word – it’s also a boomerang.