A plea to Ann Coulter

Our side needs warriors. We absolutely must have folks who brush away Twitter trolls with a snort, who belly laugh at the kind of liberal nonsense that makes the rest of us (okay, me) get all steamed in the head, who are brave enough to go on The View even though the hostesses and audience members all hate your guts.

We need people like Ann Coulter.

In addition to being a fighter, Coulter is a bit of a brainiac. She gave an amazing pro-life speech to a women’s group here in Connecticut in 1992, when she was just 30, that I have read a number of times in an anthology published by the Human Life Review in 2010.

She’s a boon to the conservative movement.

She’s a little brassy, a little sassy, a little argumentative … not really my style. But I’m smart enough to see that a movement of folks like me – hesitant, waffling, apologetic, overly cautious – would die out like a summer flower hit with hurricane force winds.

But this is the thing. Is it necessary for her to denigrate the enemy by calling them “retarded”?

Here’s a tweet of hers from Sept. 26:

@AnnCoulter Been busy, but in Obama STILL talking about that video? I had no idea how crucial the retarded vote is in this election.

To even include that word in my own post causes me pain. My daughter has Down syndrome. She is not a joke. In fact, unlike the liberals Coulter routinely skewers, my daughter is not a fire-spewing debater; she is not sneaky or vindictive. She comes home and tells me immediately all the things she did wrong (and right) at school. She’s frank and honest, searching my face for a reaction. She is guileless. She’s also a true gem. She spreads joy, brightening the days and faces of cranky Republicans and Democrats alike.

So why does Ann have to use the word “retarded”? Not only is it unnecessary and incorrect, but it is cruel. It hurts people like me, people in a world of disability parenting which is mostly filled with Democrats – you know, the kind who think the only people who care about the poor, suffering, and disabled are the Kennedys.

Why would she alienate me and my husband? We were so terribly disappointed to read her tweet. We were sickened to see that nearly 400 people retweeted or favorited it.

We sent her a couple of tweets about how hurtful the casual use of that word as a shorthand for “stupid” or “klutzy” is to people with emotional, physical, and developmental disabilities. We’ve written more than once about our own pain at hearing those words. We recommended she read some of them.

I also suggested this amazing video, one that I’ve seen countless times but that still brings tears to my eyes, of a then-high-school senior boy named Soeren Palumbo (handsome, well spoken, cool) who delivered a deeply affecting speech to his high school class about the “R” word. Yes, it’s 10 minutes long. But please watch it.

I guess I’m waiting for Coulter to say, “Sorry folks. Poor choice of words.” And take the tweet down.

Maybe she won’t, as some sort of stand against the politically correct culture that has ruined so much of our language – the one that promotes gender neutral pronouns, bullying workshops, and endless blather on about the dog-whistles and “otherizing” of our political discourse. That bugs me, too.

But I’m guessing she’s not caught using the N-word or any of the several ethnic insults that have been rightly removed from our vocabulary – that of decent liberals and conservatives alike.

So why is the R-word any different? Perhaps it’s because adults who have Down syndrome aren’t a political or social force. Perhaps it’s because the parents of special needs children have so much on their hands that they’re not going to carve out a weekend to picket or dash off multiple letters and emails to representatives. Their lives are filled with daily, immediate issues of health and finances. Whatever. I don’t know why this word is still “okay” and “funny” for actors, comedians, pundits, and even White House advisers to use. Maybe someone can help me out with that.

But it all makes me wonder this about Ann. How is she any better than the race-baiting folks she mocks onThe View? How is she any better than the liberals who lie or twist words? How is she any better than the very folks she crushes for their inconsistency?

She used cruel language to belittle her political opponents and, in the process, caused pain to people who are not only innocent in the broadest sense, but politically innocent as well. My daughter has no voice in the public square save mine. I won’t keep silent in the face of this kind of thing even if I am outmatched against a brainiac like Ann Coulter.

Wouldn’t we all be better off if our thought leaders, even our fiercest and bravest, showed a moment of reflection or repentance?

Why not remove that tweet, Ann?

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Comments

  1. Rhetorical Doc says:

    I too admire Ann’s fighting spirit, but I was offended that she used this term to describe Obama, primarily for the same reasons you gave. I had a family member, who is now deceased, who was “retarded,” but he a sweet, kind, loving person who would never hurt or offend anyone. I think Ann could have chosen a more appropriate word to show that Obama is not the mental giant that his sycophants think he is. Her word choice was poor, and her doubling down on it is even poorer. I am disappointed in both.

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