Ok, so apparently our President said something surprisingly stupid and impolitic on Jay Leno describing his bowling as Special Olympic worthy. I really can’t get that worked up about it. I know I should – Rachel has competed in several SO track events (and she likes to bowl), my cousin Brian won a silver medal in track at the Special Olympics world meet (a big deal, his family traveled out to Toronto and everything) but I guess I just don’t have the energy to really get upset about this. It was dumb to say — but coming from the same lips as “punished with a baby”, I am just not surprised enough to get upset. In the end I think this (Special Olympics Champ to Barack: Bring it On!) is the best response possible.
In one way I am sort of grateful for the gaffe (if you want to call it that) in that it unearthed this video. Apparently in the rush to defend the president some of the die hard faithful Obama supports (or maybe those who just really hate Sarah Palin) brought this video to light.
What is the difference between a Hockey-mom and a Special Olympics Hockey-mom? Nothing. Perfect. I also like how she talks about the absolute terror of knowing that your child is disabled and how love melts those fears away. Say whatever you like about her, but this I absolutely respect: she lives this, and is open about it. Plus it gives me my little excuse to say Special Olympics is wonderful.
Back when I was working downtown I would occasionally take the evening bus home. One my route was a gentlemen who (I think) was autistic. We got on the 72 at the same stop and I started talking to him. I noticed he had a medal and asked him about it. He had won it in the Special Olympic because he had ran “really, really fast”. I told him that was really cool and that my little girl ran in the Special Olympics. “Is she fast too?” he asked. Yeah, she is fast. I couldn’t even guess how many years that medal hung around that gentleman’s neck. But he wore it everyday that I saw him. It obviously meant a great deal to him.
Our world can be very hard for people who aren’t “perfect” but the Special Olympics gives everyone a chance to be a winner and a chance to be their best. It celebrates the fact that we are all worth everything, that we all count and deserve a chance to try to be our best. It is simultaneously what makes the president’s comment insensitive and stupid and what keeps me from getting too worked up about it. None of us are perfect, Barak Obama no exception, and no one is well served by the destructive politics that has reared its ugly head in our Nation this fall. Picking up this one moment of stupidity isn’t useful unless it is used intelligently to say something worth saying.
People with disabilities have much to offer our society and the Special Olympics has much to offer them. So if you are so inclined, or if you have your dander up on this point please take a moment and donate to the Special Olympics while there you might want to read what they have say on the Obama/Leno thing.
H/T to Hotair for the Sarah Palin video and the challenge.