Special Olympian Destroys Ann Coulter’s R-Word Cruelty With Love

heartNo one was really that surprised when Ann Coulter called President Obama a "retard" in a tweet after this week's debate. But we weren't exactly thrilled, either. Even people who agree with her politics found it unacceptable. But one person had the dignity and grace to turn Ann's unkindness into a profound learning moment for us all. Special Olympics athlete and and global messenger John Franklin Stephens wrote an open letter to Ann Coulter.

It was posted on the Special Olympics blog -- and it's beautiful. I don't expect Ann to apologize or even respond, and I don't think that's even the point. I think this letter is more for the rest of us, and I, for one, am feeling chastened by John's words.


I wish I could just post the whole letter here. If you have the time, it's completely worth taking out a few minutes to read. And it will be about the most uplifting message you'll read all week. But here is the part I found most inspiring.

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 ...

... 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.

Wow. What an amazing way to turn a mean-spirited, careless insult into gold. "Being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor." He is absolutely correct!

It's because of people like John Franklin Stephens -- people who face bullying and challenges and yet still love life -- that I've stopped using "retarded" in a derogatory manner, too. I'll admit it: I've used that word the same way in conversation. It was careless and thoughtless of me. But after another incident of a public figure using that word, my youngest sister (who is not retarded, but who does have a severe disability) expressed how it makes her feel. I never did it again. I may cuss like a pirate, but "retarded" is one word I'm more respectful with now. Thank you for that reminder, John Franklin Stephens!

What did you think of this open letter to Ann Coulter?


Image via CarbonNYC/Flickr

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