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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

John Franklin Stephens is a Badass

You've likely come across the public outcry regarding Ann Coulter's use of the word "retard" to describe President Obama. It was top news on CNN today and, given my new-found role as special needs advocate, I immediately informed myself on this recent injustice. This lack of class is nothing new from Coulter, who frequently uses terms like "raghead" and "tent monkey" to describe those of Middle Eastern descent and even said of 9/11 widows, "these self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them.  I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." Though while I was reading about this latest incident of foot-in-mouth, I found myself cursing Ann Coulter (pretty typical behavior, actually) and using words that I can only say inside my head to describe her. She is a vile woman and one I try to ignore based on her own hate-filled ignorance. But this time around, she struck too close to home.

In the midst of my frustration, I came across John Franklin Stephens' "Open Letter to Ann Coulter" and found my anger abating due to his well-written and moving response. Not only does this 30-year-old Special Olympian (who also happens to have Down syndrome) eloquently address Coulter's inappropriate statements, but he manages to do so without anger or bitterness. He manages to do so in way that makes me so proud of who my son can become. It was a powerful moment. And hell, he made Ann Coulter look even less human (didn't think it was possible) simply by being more so. As one commenter said, "Mr Stephens, it is people like you who will change the world. Responding to close-minded ignorance with a thoughtful open-hearted invitation to understand makes you a better man than most and invites others to follow suit."

My sentiments exactly...

John Franklin Stephens