Tuesday, February 9, 2010

On My Soap Box

I'm mad as Hell! Fuming. Spitting while I talk through gritted teeth angry. I've said it before and I'll say it again. My daughter is not a pawn to be used for political gain and I don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican. For me and thousands of other families who love someone with a developmental disability, the r-word issue rises above our chosen political party (if we have one), and it should.

We've all been watching the fallout of Rahm Emanuel's use of the r-word. We've read as Sarah Palin asked for Emanuel to be fired. We've seen the clip of Rush Limbaugh using the r-word repeatedly and later defend what he said by spinning it as satire. "I purposely chose to use a rhetorical tool -- satire, s-a-t-i-r-e -- to ridicule and humiliate them." (Limbaugh) Wait a minute. As far as Limbaugh's remarks actually being satire, I call bull$hit. Secondly, wasn't the satire defense the same one given by Ben Stiller (and largely rejected as excusable) for Tropic Thunder? (hmmm? raises eyebrow)
Keith Olbermann weighs in again.

I've seen die-hard conservative Republican friends call for Rush to be strung up and I've been waiting for Palin to treat him the same way as she treated Emanuel. Apparently, she will not. Instead she excused Rush's rant as satire and even called it hysterical. Palin's spokeswoman even called Limbaugh sort of in a panic to explain that she was not at war with him over it. Palin's blatant hypocrisy is causing my head to simultaneously implode and explode!

Partial transcript of Sarah Palin on Chris Wallace, Sunday February 7th taken from HERE

WALLACE: You called [Emanuel] out. He used the "R" word. He said "retarded." He has now apologized for using that word, met with activists, said he's going to join the campaign to try to eliminate use of that word.

PALIN: Oh, you know...

WALLACE: Is that good enough?

PALIN: ... Rahm Emanuel — I think he has some indecent and insensitive ways of being, including his language and as I said for a variety of reasons giving the president poor advice, I think, and his heavy-handedness. I think he should step down.

I'm not politically correct. I am not one to be a word police, but I do believe that his insensitivity, in a time when I had just promised in my GOP Convention speech that those with special needs and families and those who love those with special needs would have a friend and an advocate in the White House if John McCain and I were so blessed as to be elected — that didn't stop me — because our votes didn't carry the day. We didn't win.

That didn't stop my passion, my commitment to reaching out and to helping the special needs community when they asked for it. And they did ask for it on this one. They preached out to me and said, "Can you kind of highlight the problem that we have in the White House with both the president and his chief of staff being so insensitive to the special needs community?" And I said, "I'm here. Send me. I will do so."

WALLACE: OK, but Rush Limbaugh weighed in this week and he said this, "Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards 'retards.'"

PALIN: He was hysterical in that.

WALLACE: Wait, let me finish. "I mean..."


WALLACE: "... these people, these liberal activists, are kooks." Should Rush Limbaugh apologize?

PALIN: They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was using satire to bring attention to what this politically correct...

WALLACE: But he used the "R" word.

PALIN: Using satire. Name-calling by anyone — I teach this to my children. You teach it to your children and your grandchildren, too. Name-calling by anyone — it's just unnecessary. It just wastes time. Let's speak to the issues and, again, let's move on.

WALLACE: But you know what some people are going to say, Governor, and have said? They say, "Look, when it's her political adversary, Rahm Emanuel, she's going to call him out. 'He's indecent, apologize.' But when it's a political friend like Rush Limbaugh, 'Oh, it's satire.'"

PALIN: I didn't hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with "f'ing retards." And we did know that Rahm Emanuel — it's been reported — did say that. There's a big difference there.

But again, name-calling, using language that is insensitive, by anyone — male, female, Republican, Democrat — it's unnecessary. It's inappropriate. And let's all just grow up.
end transcript

I make no bones about which political party I am a member of. I, however, do not put my chosen party above my child. When President Obama compared his bowling skills to the Special Olympics, I got good and angry. I expect no less from my friends in opposing parties (and those who do not associate with a party). Yet while most are openly calling Limbaugh out for his remarks you can hear crickets chirping in regards to Palin's stance. UPDATED to add that I'm pleased to hear that there ARE Palin supporters speaking out about this, thank goodness. I have friends who are great supporters of Palin. If you consider yourself a Palin backer (heck, even if you're not), please leave me a comment and share your thoughts about this.

Last night I watched as The Daily Show and the Colbert Report weighed in. I watched and I wanted to throw a shoe through my tv screen. Mark and I have been fans of Lewis Black. We saw him perform in Washington D.C. when we were living there years ago. I've been offended by some of his rants before, (& his use of the r-word) but not like I was last night.

"Don't they get it? This word isn't about mentally challenged people. You'd never call them retarded. You only use it when able minded adults do something retarded. But please, world you've taken so much from me. Don't take away my retarded!" (Lewis Black)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - The R-Word
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

I "get" that he's calling Palin out for her hypocrisy in excusing Limbaugh's remarks as satire. I do. However, this bit was so unbelievably offensive that I can't see straight. To Lewis I say, No a-hole. YOU don't get it. You don't get it at all. It absolutely IS about people, like my daughter, who have developmental disabilities. This age-old argument that it's not ok to call actual people with disabilities retarded, but you can use it against adults who are "able minded" and acting stupidly is flawed logic and it is tired. It is wrong and it is unacceptable. Do you think it's ok to call people who are not African American the n-word or any other racial or ethnic slur as long as it's not aimed at those people directly? Seriously? Asking for people to make a conscious effort to use respectful language is a threat to you? It's taking something away from you? Jon is not off the hook with me either for airing this drivel.

And then this, on the Colbert Report

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sarah Palin Uses a Hand-O-Prompter
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Listen how the audience roars with laughter when Colbert uses Palin's satire explanation as an excuse to call her an effing retard. NOT OK- even though they are trying to make a point about how hypocritical she is being! In both shows last night, they try to use humor to dance around the issue, but show how clearly they do not get how hurtful it is or how offensive their comedy bits truly are.

I suppose no press is bad press for our campaign. Nation-wide people are talking about this. Others ARE getting it. We ARE making progress and progress means a more safe and accepting world. (sigh)


Anonymous said...

Deep breath...well said my dear friend...well said!
love, the prairie

Terri said...

whew... so with you on this. I think it is good news that even the comedians are seeing this word as indefensible. But I have seen my friends who have developmental disabilities cringe and duck into themselves when r-bombs are lobbed around (they weren't shot AT them, but THEY got hit.) I have listened to their stories and their hurt and it has to stop.

jonashpdx said...

Very well said, and definitely worth saying, as I discussed with Dan on the Oz blog this morning.

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. Great post Jen. I am going to link on over here if that is ok. What is coming across loud and clear to me is Sarah Palin needs to hire a good advisor, I mean a really good advisor to work with her in shaping her agenda. It is starting to scare the hell out of me that she has the platform to speak on behalf of our daughters. Come on Sarah Palin get your act together.

Molly said...

Blargh. I cannot be coherent about this anymore. She pissed me off. I'm really mad. This speaks volumes about her character. STAND UP FOR YOUR SON LADY! Teach your family that he deserves respect.

I don't care who says the word, I speak up. I don't care if you are brad pitt. If you said it around me? You better bet we're going to have a little chat.

Chrystal said...

Thank you for this. My heart is breaking for the hurt this is causing all of us. Most importantly, our children.

I posted about this as well.

Tara Marie said...

Oh, thank you, thank you. My heart has been so heavy over this issue.....it is so not a partisan issue and I'm getting more and more upset that it is becoming one.

Please say on your Soap Box....I standing right next to you supporting you!!!!

Tom P. said...


It's all about politics to Palin. She really doesn't care about the word. She cares if she can use her child to score some points against Democrats.

Linda said...

I wish Sarah Palin would make some sense when she talks. She scares me. She is doing so much damage to our campaign to end the R word. She needs to stop making this about politics and think about her son for once.

Lisa said...

Wonderful post. You hit the nail on the head!

Katrina said...

Ugh, this whole business is such a mess. Sarah Palin needs to sit down and be quiet now. It's obvious to everyone that her political career is much more important to her than her family. And I doubt anyone in the disability community would continue to support her after this stunt.

JennyH said...

Great post!!

I stopped watching the Daily Show long ago. I they used the R word way too much. But that statement from Black is very uncalled for.

Bethany said...

I love your passion. It all makes my head hurt. And she is driving me insane.

suegrace said...

Obviously Palin's advocacy for her own son extends only as far as her politics. She stands up for Rush Limbaugh over her own child? CHildren with special needs among out most powerless citizens. If we don't speak up for them, who will? Limbaugh, at an earlier time, mocked Michael J. Fox. This has got to stop. Palin had an opportunity to counter him, and she chose to DEFEND him! Sign the petition to be sent to Palinat the OZ blog!