Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama's "Thougtless Joke," Michelle's Silence



While the story of President Obama's patronizing comment about Special Olympic participants has faded from the mass media, it remains a topic of discussion among disability rights activists, especially since Sarah Palin weighed in on the topic.

Palin's admonition is seen as insincere by many in the disability rights movement since she has turned down federal education stimulus funds, some of which would have been directed toward special education.

Whether we believe Obama has the right mindset for the crises the country faces -- he may get a handle on the financial situation as soon as he stops listening to the Old Guard who created it -- I don't think he's ever been challenged to give sufficient thought to the idea of what it means to live disabled.

That's why I'm surprised that Michelle Obama, whose father dealt with MS while continuing to work, hasn't dressed him down a bit and encouraged a more introspective and perceptive apology.

As an activist noted, Obama apologized to the head of the Special Olympics, but not directly to the people he offended most. Pablum liek that dished out by the Obama spokesperson at the daily briefing ...

I know that the President believes that the Special Olympics are a triumph of the human spirit, and I think he understands that they deserve a lot better than -- than the thoughtless joke that he made last night, and he apologizes for that.


... is meant as oil on troubled waters rather than an explanation of an introspective reexamination of attitude.

The operative word in that, I think, is "thoughtless." We humans are shabby creatures, the best of us working hard toward an unselfish spirit, and it may be that we reveal ourselves most clearly when we are thoughtless rather than we rationalize how we want to present ourselves and our thoughts to the world.
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