Dear Ann Coulter of the Day: After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a retard in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
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. 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 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, Ms. Coulter, 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.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet, John Franklin Stephens Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia
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October 24, 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. There are myriad sources telling of Mr. Robinson’s career and legacy. Obit of the Day will, instead, share some little known facts:
- Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919. He was named for President Theodore Roosevelt who died on January 6 of that year.
- Jackie attended UCLA and was the first student to letter in four sports: baseball, football, basketball, and track.
- He won the NCAA Long Jump championship in 1940.
- While at UCLA his worst sport was baseball.
- During World War II Robinson enlisted in the Army. In 1944 while serving at Ft. Hood in Waco, Texas he was court martialled for refusing an order to move to the back of a bus because of his race. He was found not guilty.
- Robinson would play one season in the Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs. According to Robinson, if Branch Rickey of the Dodgers hadn’t recruited him for the majors, he would have quit playing baseball and become a coach at Sam Houston College.
- Robinson was 28 years old when he stepped on the field on April 15, 1947 as the first African American major leaguer in over 60 years. He won the Rookie of the Year award, which is now named for him.
- Here are his stats for his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers which included the 1949 MVP Award as well Brooklyn’s only World Series victory in 1955.
- Jackie played himself in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), his wife was played by Ruby Dee.
- He was traded to the New York Giants, the Dodgers NL rival, after the 1957 season. He never played for the Giants having already signed a contract to work for Chock Full O’ Nuts - a coffee company.
- In 1965 Robinson became the first African Americans sports analyst when he worked on ABC’s Game of the Week.
- Robinson was a Republican, supporting Richard Nixon in the 1960 election as well as Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential and gubernatorial bids. He left the party in 1968 after they failed to support civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
- Robinson’s last public appearance was at game 2 of the 1972 World Series (October 15) where he threw out the first pitch in honor of the 25th anniversary of the integration of baseball. The Cincinnati Reds were playing the Oakland A’s.
- He died at the age of 53 from a heart attack in his home. His eulogy was given by the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
- In 1997 Jackie Robinson became the first, and so far only, player to have his uniform number retired throughout all of baseball. (Wayne Gretzky is the only other professional athlete to earn that honor.)
- Jackie’s brother, Mack Robinson, won the silver medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the 100 meter sprint. Jesse Owens finished first.
- Jackie’s wife, Rachel, was an associate professor of psychiatric nursing at Yale University at the time of Jackie’s death.
- Jackie’s son, Jackie Jr., died in a car accident in 1971. He was only 27.
Sources: NYTimes, jackierobinson.com, Wikipedia, IMDB, The National Archives, baseball-reference.com
(Image is copyright of the Associated Press and courtesy of nabnyc.blogspot.com )
And here’s the trailer for the April 2013 release of the film 42. Yes that’s Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie. Music by Jay-Z.
I wish today was national kick people on the train day!