Rahm Emanuel, Obama's foul mouthed Chief of Staff, made a comment about his fellow democrats during a heated strategy session:
This is the 2nd time in less than a year that this administration has made comments about people with special needs. On Leno, the president talked about his bowling skills and the special olympics. While what the president said was clearly meant to be a joke, it isn't funny to the people who have children with special needs. Not only do these kids work really hard to get the chance to compete, they are given a chance to have an accomplishment that most other kids take for granted; the feeling of acceptance and belonging.
Special needs kids live in the fringes of our society. They are riduculed and left out of ordinary activities that other kids do daily. Kids are very cruel; many just don't know better, but some have parents who make comments like Rahm's. What makes this so bad is that he is justifing the behavior of the kids who mock and ridicule. While that may not be his intent, it is still the end result.
A little story to highlight this point:
There was a four year old little boy who was going to summer art camp. His parents sent him to this camp with "normal" kids to help him learn to exist in the outside world. He was placed in with the two and three year olds, since he didn't know his colors and wouldn't be able to keep up with the four year olds. Towards the last day of camp he came home with an invitation to go to a pool party after the final day. The mom knew one of the other mothers that was going to be there and thought it would be good for his confidence to go on his own since she would be there to watch out for him. Those two little boys had hit it off and have played together a few times. On the final day of camp she packed his towel and swimsuit, and brought snacks for the kids. The mom asked him again if he was sure he wanted to go and he was excited to have a real playdate as he is big boy now. That afternoon, mom got a call from the teacher. She explained that her son was not actually invited to the pool party and the invitation went home by mistake, she took full responsibility for the error and asked her to come and pick him up. She went to get her little boy. By the time she got there, he realized that he was not going to be included and was very upset. Mom was trying to calm down her crying little boy and promised to have a private party for the two of them that afternoon. The woman who was throwing the party told the mother that she didn't think that since he was "slow" he would know how to swim and would need too much attention. The little boy has a pool in his backyard and is a pretty good swimmer. The little boy and the mom went and had a wonderful afternoon; buying a book and eating hot fudge sundae's, which is a very rare treat for him. The little guy even got to choose dinner that night; hot dogs, much to his mother's chagrin. She was able to make him forget about the snub; at least this time.
This is the type of attitude that parents of special needs kids deal with on a daily basis. Not only do they have to prepare their kids for other children's jokes, they have to deal with adults that are completely insenstive and downright stupid. Rambo Rahm words are just making that attitude acceptable within our society. The chief of staff called Tim Shriver, the head of the special olypmics, to apologize; yet again.
I agree with Sarah Palin, this isn't good enough; Rahm Emanuel needs to resign. This is the second such incident in less than a year. The White House should not be seen as dissing the special needs community. At this point in time any thinking person knows not to use this word. It is a disgrace that the President and his staff don't seem to get it. Simply calling the head of the Special Olympics this time around is not enough. What about the apology to the upset parent that contacted Sarah Palin to make her aware of the comment? Where is his apology Mr. President? I will say this again, image matters. We can't fire you, but you can fire deadfish.
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