ann coulter retard special olympics john franklin stephens Ann Coulter: Special Olympics' John Franklin Stephens responds to her slur tweetFollowing the third presidential debate Monday night (Oct. 22), conservative pundit Ann Coulter tweeted, “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard,” in reference to Mitt Romney‘s perceived debate style versus President Obama.

There were many responses, from both sides of the political spectrum, dressing down Coulter, including conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, who calls it “stupid” and “shallow” and says that Coulter may be a conservative, but she does not speak for “all of us.”

But the most eloquent response has been written by Special Olympics Global Messenger John Franklin Stephens, a 30-year-old man with Down Syndrome, in an open letter on the Special Olympics blog. Some excerpts:

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.

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.

No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.

Come join us someday at Special Olympics.  See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,  
John Franklin Stephens

A wonderful response, we thought.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."