Friday, October 26, 2012

Ann Coulter defends ‘retard’ tweet by claiming to be victim of bullying


In a radio show appearance on Thursday, columnist Ann Coulter claimed to be the victim of “bullying.” The reason? Being justly held accountable for the use of offensive language.

During the Monday presidential debate, Coulter stated in a Twitter post, “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.” According to Tommy Christopher at mediaite.com, Coulter “crossed lines of decency untrod even by her standards.”

John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete and global messenger, authored a response to Coulter that was dignified and respectful: “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.” In his post, he challenged Coulter’s attempt to “belittle the President by linking him to people like me.”
“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.”
I appreciated Stephens’ response because I have been the recipient of this labeling.

During childhood, my possession of traits characteristic of the autism spectrum were not formally diagnosed. With no explanation for my differences, I was often at odds with the people around me.

On one occasion, an adult member of my family told me that I was retarded, and I am sure the term “retarded” was among the many playground taunts I had to endure.

Coulter’s use of the R-word was inexcusable and in her radio appearance on Thursday, Coulter compounded the offense. “Liberal victims are the biggest bullies of all,” she told radio host Alan Colmes.

Colmes, in response, emphasized that “This is not a left/right issue.”

Having been the target of genuine bullying -- physical abuse, name-calling and ostracism -- I found Coulter’s statements doubly offensive. Her remarks easily demonstrated just who the “bully” is.

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