John Franklin Stephens really is retarded. Actually, to be much more polite: he’s a 30 year old successful business owner with Down’s Syndrome.
As you might imagine, he’s not too keen on Fox News’ guest Ann Coulter’s use of the word “retarded” to refer to President Obama in this past Tuesday night’s debates. From Forbes.com‘s TJ McCue:
Ann Coulter used the R-word again this week approving of Mitt Romney’s decision to be “kind and gentle” to President Obama. I don’t know Ann Coulter nor have I read her books, seen her on television, or heard her on the radio. I quickly went to her website to see what she looked like. I live in a cave, really.
It deeply saddens me when I hear anyone use a derogatory label for another human being. I do not want to celebrate Miss Coulter’s language or behavior. However, I loudly applaud John Franklin Stephens response which you can jump to at the end of this post.
Mr. Stephens wrote an open letter to Ms. Coulter, excerpted here:
“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.
Bravo, Mr. Stephens, bravo! for your heart and mind and unmerited kindness to Ms. Coulter and, more so, that you extended an invitation for her to come join you ”someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged” is outstanding and a model for how we should engage with others. Many others have been railing at Ms. Coulter for her poor choice(s), but you showed us all what is to be a real man, a real person, with no fear and true love. Thank you.
And he’s not alone. As McCue mentioned, there’s been an uprising of sorts…which proves that, even though the candidates are not likely to make any serious gaffes in the next two weeks before Election Day on November 6, those that support them are eminently capable of it.
Stephens has incredible class. He’s invited Coulter to a Special Olympics event–he signs his email as the “Global Messenger for the Special Olympics of Virginia.”
Sadly, though, Coulter has shown that she just doesn’t get it.
It’s hard to know what she was thinking when she sent this tweet after the Tuesday debate. One thing is very clear, though…if she really wanted to help Mitt Romney, obviously her choice for the next President of the United States, she should have kept her thoughts–disjointed and inappropriate as they were–to herself.