An open letter to Ms. Sarah Palin
Dear Ms. Palin:
I wanted to lend my support to you and your family in your fight to stop entertainment shows like The Family Guy, politicians like Rahm Emanuel, and other public figures from using the term “retarded” to describe something they don’t agree with. I agree – the term “retarded” has an actual medical connotation, but when used pejoratively, is an insult to the cognitively disabled. I am the mother of a special needs child myself. My son, Tim, has a severe mental illness.
While I agree with you, I also want to call out on some things you said recently.
“Now these aren’t the only ways to rein in spending, and alone, they’re not going to be enough, not enough to tackle the insane debt and the deficits that we face.”
“The Palin plan is quite simple and I kind of get a kick out of it. I think it probably drives some of the elitists crazy that I don’t get angry out about it…”
Please notice I highlighted certain of your words. Words that you throw around without care. Words that have meaning – clinical meaning – but you use them here pejoratively to describe policies and persons that you don’t agree with.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “insane” as: seriously mentally ill.
“Crazy” is defined as: insane or unbalanced, especially in a wild or aggressive way.
My son has Schizoaffective Disorder, a severe mental illness characterized by recurrent episodes of elevated or depressed mood, disorganized thinking and movement, altered perception of reality (psychosis), aggressive rage, and severe social and occupational impairment. My son is, clinically, insane.
I say the same to you as you said about Rahm Emanuel:
Just as I’d be appalled if any commentator or author of your stature used the “n-word” or other such inappropriate language, your slur on all God’s children with severe mental illnesses – and the people who love them – is unacceptable.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to mock you, or make light of Mr. Emanuel’s use of a pejorative term. It was wrong. But media hungry commentators with national political aspirations that live in glass houses really shouldn’t throw stones.