Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thank You, Ann Coulter!

With a few exceptions, the topic of disabilities has been largely absent from this year's presidential campaigns. If it were a top issue, I wouldn't take the time to write this blog. The decisions that will be made in the next four years will have a tremendous impact on people with disabilities and the people who care about them, yet the candidates have addressed these issues only in the context of health care reform and, to a lesser extent, education policy. Autism Speaks even launched a campaign called "1 in 88 can't wait" to try to get both candidates -- or even one of them -- to share their plans to address the needs of the 1 in 88 people who have autism.

With three tweets using the words "retarded" and "retard," you did what disability advocates could not have done without you. So thank you. Specifically:

Thank you for giving John Franklin Stephens a national platform to express the hopes and challenges of people with disabilities. The positive impact he's making will far outweigh the damage that your offensive and heartless attacks have caused.

Thank you for giving people like Amy Gravino a voice. In this powerful video from Autism Speaks, Amy (who has Asperger's Syndrome) asks both candidates to talk about autism and follow up on their words with action for people like her.

Thank you for inspiring people who care about people with disabilities to vote this year. Before your "retard" tweet this week, you had tweeted "I had no idea how crucial the retarded vote is in this election" on Sept. 26. Based on your insensitive remarks, I have to assume you have no friends or family members who are affected by disabilities, but most people do. And you've made our voices louder and our impact greater this election year.

See also:
"Coulter Tweet Should Be a Wake-Up Call for People with Disabilities to Vote," by Chris Lenois at American Training, Inc.
"Ann Coulter Slammed for Using 'R-Word,'" by Michelle Diament at Disability Scoop
"An Open Letter To Ann Coulter" by John Franklin Stephens

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