After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a “retard” in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter: Dear Ann Coulter, 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? 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. 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. I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have. Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next. Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift. Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more. 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. A friend you haven’t made yet, John Franklin Stephens Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia
Thats right John, bravo, well put. People like Ann are mean and try to make people feel small when in fact she ends up looking pretty bad. And what a better person it is to be told off by this kind and genle athlete. People like Ann have been around for a long time, people who want to make other people look small, and marginalized.
In my career of 30 plus years in service to people with disabilities, I have seen examples of sheer meaness toward the people in the world who have struggled through school and then finding a job. People who get up every morning and struggle, to be accepted, struggle to hold down a job, and struggle to be accepted.
Ann you have been like this for years and i have heard many rebuttles to your disgraceful behavior and what comes out of such a pretty mouth. And this one letter has got to be the best showdown, revealing just how heartless you are.
Now go and apologize to this man and try to regain an ounce of dignity. And did you notice at the end of his letter he was welcoming you to come see the Special Olympics, laying down the gauntlet and reaching out a hand.