Please know that this is not intended as a partisan political attack. Quite the contrary, I find that far too many in the various parties are all too happy to make personal attacks and unkind remarks to further their time in the spotlight, increase their fame or notoriety, and/or attempt to further their cause.
I find that far too often politics divides and finds faults and differences rather than focusing on attributes and uniting people to work together toward common goals and the good of all. This post is intended as a way to further the latter.
I just read an article that saddened me about a letter that inspired me. It was written by a Special Olympian who was responding to a comment made referring to someone as a “retard”.
In my judgment this Special Olympian’s response was powerful, eloquent, and most of all, kind. Here are some snippets from his open letter:
“I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow,” Stephens wrote. “I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.”
I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey [sic] sound bite to the next.
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
Because…that is who we are—and much, much more.
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.”
Stephens concluded by inviting the person to whom he addressed his open letter to the Special Olympics:
“See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens”
Thank you, John Franklin Stephens for rising above the name-calling and insults, and answering unkindness with kindness.