Man with Down Syndrome Writes Open Letter to Ann Coulter for ‘R-word’ Tweet

While the rest of us were in an uproar over the conservative pundit's tweet, in which she used the word "retard" to describe President Obama, one man took pen to paper—and I'm so, so glad he did.

The Internet ignited Monday night after conservative columnist Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a “retard” in a tweet during the presidential debate. When the blog Politicker asked her to clarify yesterday, she responded, “the only people who will be offended are too retarded to understand it.” Classy.

Like most of us, John Franklin Stephens, a 30-year-old Special Olympian with Down syndrome, took it all in from the sidelines at first, watching the back-and-forth unfold, undoubtedly shaking his head in disgust. And then he decided to enter the fray—and, gosh, I’m so glad he did. Yesterday, Stephens published an open letter to Ann Coulter about her use of what he refers to as the “R-word.” You can read the whole thing for yourself here (I dare you to not get emotional), but here’s my favorite part:

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.

Check out the whole letter here.