Dear Commons Community,
Ann Coulter was shamed yesterday by a Special Olympics athlete with Down Syndrome for using the word “retard” in referring to President Obama. Ms. Coulter, desperate for attention from any media outlet besides Fox News, after the Presidential debate on Monday, tweeted “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard”. Despite widespread outrage about the tweet, Coulter doubled down on her word choice on Tuesday.
“If he’s ‘the smartest guy in the room’ it must be one retarded room,” she wrote about Obama.
In reply, Special Olympian John Franklin Stephens wrote in a blog post.
“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?”
Stephens, 30, told Coulter that he 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.”
In his open letter, Stephens wondered whether Coulter had used the word to suggest that President Obama was “bullied as a child by people like you” or that he “has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says.”
“After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me,” he wrote. “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.”
“Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor,” he said.
Stephens invited Coulter to attend the Special Olympics, challenging her to “walk away with your heart unchanged.”
Good for you, John!