Bullying and Hate Should Not Be Tolerated: Why Ann Coulter’s Use of the R-word is Wrong

Andrew Mundwiller is an attorney with The Cagle Law Firm in St. Louis. He represents people with severe injuries and disabilities, focusing on protecting his clients’ legal rights and financial well-being. Andrew is also a member of SOMO’s Board of Directors.

During the Presidential debate on October 22, conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter stated on her Twitter account, “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”  Coulter’s comment referred to President Obama as a “retard.”

The next day, John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics Athlete from Virginia wrote an open letter to Coulter addressing her use of the r-word and invited Coulter to attend a Special Olympics event. 

Thursday, Coulter was on the radio and was asked whether she regretted her use of the r-word.  Coulter said, “No of course I don’t.” Coulter further stated, “Liberal victims are the biggest bullies of all” and when referring to people who criticized her use of the r-word Coulter stated, “screw them.”

I am a volunteer board member for Special Olympics Missouri and I have a son with autism.  I am not willing to sit back and let people bully children and other human beings with intellectual disabilities.  So I felt it necessary to write this letter to you.

I am so confused by how accepted hate and bullying has become in this country.  How is it that Coulter and those like her feel it necessary to attack innocent human beings to further their personal and political agenda?

I am disgusted that someone who claims to be educated and on the moral high ground would choose to use such offensive and hurtful language to people that she has never met. Furthermore, when given a chance to say she was sorry, she added further insult and continued her use of the r-word.

There is no place in a civilized and modern society for the r-word.  Coulter used the word interchangeably with the word “loser.”   I am not sure how that could be so.  I have been to many Special Olympics events and I have never seen a loser. 

What I’ve seen are people who are my heroes.  People who never let life’s challenges get in their way.  I’ve seen people who possess the best qualities that a human being could have, like love and caring.

Ann Coulter had a real opportunity to address the use of the r-word.  Coulter had the chance to stick up for people and denounce bullying and hate, but Coulter refused.  Nobody can change Coulter or her feelings.  It is up to our community to say, “I am not okay with hate and bullying.”  “I am not going to tolerate people being hurtful.”  We are all members of this community.  Life is too short to live in a society where we hurt each other.

Blog Round-Up

We try to give you interesting, informative, fun content each week from our supporters and participants. However, we know there’s a lot going on in the disability world outside the state of Missouri as well as outside of Special Olympics. So, this week, we’re rounding up a few of our favorite blogs. You may have seen some of them before, but hopefully you’ll find one or two new sites to add to your reader.

Enjoying the Small Things – Kelle Hampton
Enjoying the Small Things began in 2007, shortly after my first daughter Lainey was born, as a way to combine my writing and photography hobbies.  It since has evolved to much more, providing not only an outlet for creativity (without which, I’d go nuts), but a home for the gratitude I feel for all of my inspirations, and most importantly, the moments we share as a family. 

January 2010, we welcomed our second girl, Nella Cordelia, and were stunned to learn, upon her delivery, that she had Down syndrome.  My world was rocked to the core, and I was sure life as I knew it was over. How wrong I was.  Between the outpouring of love and support we received, some hardcore life analysis and therapeutic insights I made on this blog through it all, I have arrived at the very beautiful place of Life is hard.  But it’s also amazing, and I will rock the hell out of it.

Love That Max – Ellen Seidman
A blog about kids with special needs who kick butt. I launched Love That Max in October 2008 as an inspirational, informational, occasionally irreverent blog. A longtime magazine editor, I am very adept at grasping pencils. Also, I’ve held senior positions at Redbook, Good Housekeeping, SELF, Child, Teen People and Glamour, where I spent eight years as deputy editor and helped relaunch Glamour.com. Max, Ellen’s son, has cerebral palsy.

Noah’s Dad – Rick Smith
Our world was forever changed when our son, Noah, surprised us by being born with Down syndrome; shortly after we started this blog. We are doing something really unique by telling the story of our son’s life via one-minute, daily videos. We believe that he has a story worth sharing, and we hope you’ll help us share his story; the story that all children (regardless of a disability) are so worth loving.

Anybody Want a Peanut? – Jennie
Anybody Want A Peanut? is a portrait of my life raising a preschooler on the autism spectrum. I write about day to day challenges, navigating early intervention and the school system, and all of the feelings, from the heartbreaking to the hilarious, that go along with it.

Special Olympics Project UNIFY
The Special Olympics Project UNIFY blog is a place where youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities will share their experiences as they advocate for inclusion, respect and acceptance in schools across the United States.

There are tons more out there. Leave a comment with your favorite special needs blog!

Being a Big Sister

My name is Patricia L. Hughes. I’m a college student, an intern, an executive board member of several on campus organizations. But the thing I am, full time, with no exception is an older sister. I have two younger sisters and both of them are amazing. Hailey is 16 and interested in math and science more than anything on the face of the planet. She has told me that she wants to, one day, be a scientist in the field of stem cell research. My sister Harley is wonderfully creative, an artist, a caretaker, and one of the most loving people I have ever met in my entire life.

Harley has autism.  People have told her horrible things her entire life about herself, which are entirely untrue. I try to let her know that her autism is something that makes her special, because it lets her look at people differently: with her whole heart. Many of the “faults” we see in people she completely overlooks because she sees them as kind, loving, and gorgeous individuals.  Needless to say, having a sister who has affected my life so fully has had an impact on me. It’s made me see how beautiful all individuals are, how special.

When I went to college I started hearing about Special Olympics volunteering. It made me think how I could help, and how I can be a big sister to children who may not have someone to reach out to. Being involved in Special Olympics in Missouri has been such a rewarding experience, because I get to work with children whose happiness and excitement is contagious. I love being able to see all the smiles and getting all the hugs every time I volunteer. I love being a big sister.

Harley and Patricia Hughes